Over at Wired, there's a great Q and A article about the space race of the 1950s and 60s. Like a lot of 40-somethings, 40 years ago I took it for granted that by now we would all be traveling in space. Those were exciting times - I only wish I could have experience the launch of a Saturn V- the one used for the Apollo missions.
I've heard many times how those Saturn V's shook the earth so violently on lift off. I'd give almost anything to have been at one of those Cape Canaveral launches.
I still have a couple things I got during the space race, including this unbuilt Revell model of a lunar module. I think it was offered to us in grade school through one of those buy-a-book programs at the time.
Somewhere around here I think I have some space booklets that came with stamps you were supposed to moisten and paste on the correct page.
I don't actively collect space stuff, other than the lunchboxes I have...(BTW, I found the metal shelf behind a thrift store to be thrown out! Score!!!)
But about a dozen years ago I happened to hit an estate sale here in the DC area and picked up a bunch of NASA photos, including some astronaut-autographed photos. They were all part of a retired NASA Godard employee;s estate.
My favorite is this well-known photo of Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins from the Apollo 11 mission.
Here's the shot of them in a contamination-proof Airstream trailer talking with President Nixon after the mission, while on the Navy ship Hornet. Personally I think they should have used a Shasta instead of an Airstream.
I have mixed feelings about collecting ephemera - photos and books and other printed things. I enjoy looking at them, but they're not so easy to display and you have to be pretty careful with them. Still, they're a great reminder of a great, audacious achievement. And it's fun to scan this stuff and share it.
I still long for the excitement we had during the Apollo years. Space seemed so close. So, where in the heck are our space cars? It's 2010 already! When are we going to have space elevators, and travel the solar system? C'mon, we're not getting any younger!