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One small step for a man - the Awesome World of Things

"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" were the words spoken by Neil Armstrong when he stepped onto the surface of the moon. This remains the single most awesome achievement in the human race's technical endeavours!There was computer glitch during the descent of the landing module to the surface of the moon. However, despite this glitch the astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin safely landed on the surface. Even today, many computer programmes do not have the same levels of fail safe. (Ek praat met jou, Windoze se donderse Blue Screen!)
Margaret H. Hamilton, Director of Apollo Flight Computer Programming MIT Draper Laboratory, Cambridge, Massachusetts, stated: “Due to an error in the checklist manual, the rendezvous radar switch was placed in the wrong position. This caused it to send erroneous signals to the computer. The result was that the computer was being asked to perform all of its normal functions for landing while receiving an extra load of spurious data which used up 15% of its time. The computer (or rather the software in it) was smart enough to recognize that it was being asked to perform more tasks than it should be performing. It then sent out an alarm, which meant to the astronaut, I'm overloaded with more tasks than I should be doing at this time and I'm going to keep only the more important tasks; i.e., the ones needed for landing...Actually, the computer was programmed to do more than recognize error conditions. A complete set of recovery programs was incorporated into the software. The software's action, in this case, was to eliminate lower priority tasks and re-establish the more important ones... If the computer hadn't recognized this problem and taken recovery action, I doubt if Apollo 11 would have been the successful Moon landing it was.”There is no picture of Neil Armstrong on the moon. He had the camera so all the pictures are of the second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin.
Important dates: 20th July, 1969, 20:18 UTC (Neil Armstrong steps onto the moon) 


Read more about the moonshot over at LinkedIn here.

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