Celebrating Apollo Moon Landing 50th

I am old enough to remember the moon landings, just… I was just coming up to 2 years old and I remember wearing a cardboard box on my head bouncing around the lounge in front of the TV. Every time I see images of the event or hear the radio transmissions I still get a shiver down my spine. It seems a general thing that we don’t remember much before 7 years old unless they are very impactful. For some reason this stuck with me and even if it is just because I have been told it happened I can still see it and feel it and it still triggers a wave of emotions. It’s pretty much what started me on the “how does this work then?” that led to whatever it is I am now as a Doctor of Technology 🙂 It is why I write lunar lander programs as a first thing on any platform or language to see what they can do. From the ZX81 and C64 onwards. It was impossible to resist getting the Lego creations lunar lander model when it popped up.

To celebrate 50 years since the moon landing
Apollo 50 Lego

I spent this Sunday building this. Lego is very therapeutic and of course whilst I was building it was having this waves of memories and feelings and thought about how important space travel is to science in general.

There are a lot of pieces to this build and I thought it might take me a couple of days, but I started for a few hours in the morning, then we popped off to a very energy sapping Choi Kwang Do black belt tag martial arts grading (as you do) and I carried on after that. So I think the total build time was about 5-6 hours. Back in 2011 the Millennium Falcon I got after it had been on our TV show (Cool Stuff Collective) took me over a week several hours a night, but that was because it had already been built and then broken down so the pieces were not in the usual number bags to divide them up.

Millennium falcon pieces

This went on to be played with by very young predlets and did not survive the process with the Lego being mixed into the general pile I believe 🙂 The Lunar Lander will not suffer that fate.

Apollo 11 Lander Lego build

It is a wonderful thing to build and it is amazing how much of its detail gets hidden away, but you see it as a builder. As much a journey as a destination.

It eases you in building the lunar surface with the crater.

Apollo 11 Lander Lego build

Then the main lander base with its legs that was eventually left on the moon. Some nice fuel tank detail that eventually almost disappears.

Apollo 11 lander Lego
Apollo 11 lander Lego

In the side pods are opening doors to show the camera that captured the descent down the ladder and the retroreflector that was left on the surface of the moon to allow scientists to determine the range of the moon by firing a laser at the device.

The core habitable command unit is the last piece, which includes a hatch for the crew to get in and out of the piece that would eventually take them back up to the orbiting platform before being jettisoned to orbit the moon and finally crash land again.

The end result with its sticker and the gold bricks representing the gold foil works really well.

Apollo 11 lander Lego
Apollo 11 lander Lego

The full build step by step (well chunks of it) are in this album on flickr.

That wasn’t the only reminiscing this weekend either as my Kickstarted GoCube arrived too, taking me back to the 80’s this time instead of the last 60’s.


This wonderful version of the puzzle is instrument and knows where all its pieces are and what way up it is, an app can guide you to solve the puzzle, set you specific challenges, time you or even play tunes with it. The teaching though is really good. Much less frustrating and more rewarding than the original 🙂 Yay for tech and IoT 🙂

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