Talk:David S. McKay

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I wish to add the historical information that I was present (as a Rice geology grad student) in Rice Stadium in Houston during John F Kennedy's speech (1961) announcing the goal of landing on the Moon before the end of the decade, and I felt very inspired by his words. My wife-to-be Mary Fae (who later became a NASA Technical Editor) was also in the stadium, although I did not know her at the time. Later, I was the only geologist present on the floor on NASA Mission Control Room when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren first walked on the surface of the moon. I was there at the invitation of the Public Affairs Officer, Jack Riley, who wanted me to help him understand the geologic terms and explain them to the press. He knew that I helped train the Apollo astrounauts in geology and, along with John Dietrich, had been the main JSC geology trainers for Neil and Buzz during their last geology field trip to West Texas. In Mission Control, I was seated in the back row next to Jack who occupied the official PAO seat, and immediately below the observation window. I could look up and see many high NASA officials along with Werner Von Braun standing immediately behind me all watching this historic first-ever walk on another planetary body. I carried an 1803 silver dollar in my pocket (a gift from my grandfather) as a momento of that historic occasion. I will pass this dollar along to my children and grandchildren. Later that evening I participated in a press conference and answered a question from Walter Cronkite about why the lunar cores seemed to contain damp soil (the soil was tightly packed in the core tubes and did not fall out easily the way beach sand might).

I recently received my 45-year NASA pin and plaque and am about to celebrate my 75th birthday, but am still here as a civil servant.

David S. McKay 9/22/2011