| July 20th marked the anniversary of the first moon landing when Neil Armstrong stepped off the Eagle lander and uttered the famous words: "One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." Do you remember where you were when this historic event took place years ago?
George Norey had special guest Richard C. Hoagland, a controversial authority about life on Mars, on his Coast-To-Coast talk show for the Moon landing's 35th anniversary. Hoagland is also a former space science museum curator; a former NASA consultant, and during the historic Apollo missions to the Moon, was the science advisor to Walter Cronkite and CBS News.
He remembered that on that famous night Walter Cronkite was reporting on the moon landing. In preparation for this event, CBS built a special set inside a large airplane hanger, complete with models of the planets so large one could walk next to them. As a special treat, Hoagland arranged for Robert A. Heinlein, famous Kansas City science fiction writer, to appear on the show. Tom Clancy, best-selling author of many action/adventure books has said of Heinlein: "We proceed down the path marked by his ideas. He shows us where the future is."
Heinlein won science fiction's Hugo Award four times, a record that still stands. "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" is widely considered his best novel. Back in the summer of 1976 He was in Kansas City as Guest of Honor for the 34th World Science Fiction Convention (MidAmeriCon), held at the Muehlebach Hotel. The convention was chaired by Ken Keller, founder of the KC Science Fiction and Fantasy Society (KaCSFFS), and a long time resident of the area. This was Heinlein's unprecedented third time as Guest of Honor at a Worldcon. Heinlein's was born in Butler, Missouri, lived in Kansas City in his youth, and still has family members in the area. Robert A. Heinlein, the dean of science fiction, died in 1988 at the age of 80. Today, you can visit the Heinlein museum in Butler.
"As the moonwalk was taking place, it was inspiring to have Heinlein walking through the field of planets, commenting on how great an event this was and what it meant to the future as we travel to the stars." After the show, Richard Hoagland said the huge hanger door was opened and they looked up at the moon and then back at the monitor and saw the live images of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. What a night to remember! Science fiction had become science fact.