Cindy Stodola Pomerleau (Author)
On January 10, 1946, the US Army successfully bounced radio waves off the moon–the first-ever extraterrestrial communication, the birth of radar astronomy, and the opening salvo in the Cold War. The author was just shy of three years old at the time, and her father, E. King Stodola, was Scientific Director of the team that carried out the experiment, code-named Project Diana.
To mark the 75th anniversary of this historic event, Cindy Stodola Pomerleau has written a series of essays using Project Diana as a lens for examining the transformations and dislocations occurring in the US during World War II and its aftermath. Nearly half the book is devoted to World War II, with particular attention to the history of radar at Camp Evans, starting with its fumbling beginnings at Pearl Harbor and culminating in its stunning success in Project Diana. The second section is devoted to King Stodola himself and an examination of the confluence of internal and external factors that made him the right man for the moment. The last section provides a sampler of Jersey Shore life (e.g., the boardwalk, the Neptune Music Circus), contemporary American life (e.g., Sears, nylon stockings), and the author’s little-girl activities (e.g., her parakeet Archie, her Islander ukulele).
Steeped in good humour and nostalgia, these wide-ranging narratives explore Project Diana’s historical, sociological, political, and scientific context, as seen from the perspective of the tiny coastal New Jersey community where fate in the form of Camp Evans deposited the author’s parents and their neighbours. The book is a unique eye-witness account of an event and an era that marked a turning point in American history.
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Photo: FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images
How did Neil Armstrong communicate with Earth after stepping on the moon’s surface and say his famous words?
The PLSS life support backpack contained a VHF band radio which transmitted voice and biosensor data from the spacesuit to the LEM communications system, and voice signals from the LEM to the suited astronaut. The LEM communications system, then communicated voice and bio sensor signals with Earth using S-band, a UHF frequency range widely used in space because of its ability to pass through Earth’s ionosphere without distortion or reflection.
All voice communication was amplitude modulated, which is why it carried readily recognizable AM signal distortions and noise. The S-band transmitter that talked to Earth also acted as a transponder, responding to coded ranging signals from Earth which were used to accurately measure the distance from a ground station on Earth to the LEM. Voice and data could also be routed through the CSM in orbit, and there stored on the DSE recorder for later spooled delivery to Earth, though I don’t know that this was actually done with lunar EVA data.
The VHF transceivers had two channels, and communications between the LEM and suited crewmen were “duplex,” meaning each could transmit simultaneously to the other. Ground transmissions, on the other hand, were “simplex,” and the characteristic Quindar tones were used to simplify single-channel (you talk, then I talk) communication.
Communication between the LEM and astronauts performing EVA was facilitated by a small VHF antenna deployed by the first crewman down the ladder. On the surface, the crew deployed a large, umbrella like S-band antenna for beaming voice and data directly back to Earth without having to relay through the CSM and its high-gain antenna array.
On later missions, of course, a somewhat smaller deployable S-band antenna was carried by the Lunar Roving Vehicle.
Original Article Courtesy of FORBES.COM – HERE and QORA.COM .