I was just watching the Olympics with the Mrs. and NBC had a piece about the space race between the United States and Russia. It reminded me of an incredible story I heard.
I have had many conversations with a man who was employed at NASA at the time of the first moon landing. As I'm sure you are all familiar with, Neil Armstrong, while taking his first steps on the moon, bounces slightly. Most people think it was because of a lack of gravity. My engineering friend said that was not why Armstrong bounced when he hit the moon's surface.
Before Apollo 11 landed on the moon, there was an extensive amount of discussion involving the NASA brain trust over what, exactly, the moon was made out of. After months of deliberation, the panel had decided on two possibilities. Either the moon was solid, and a human could walk on it. Or the moon had a center comprised of space dust and any human who touched it's surface would fall a hundred meters into it's center and be lost forever.
Neil Armstrong, before placing his feet on the moon's surface, wasn't sure if he'd ever come back to Earth. His bounce was a reflex, because he didn't know if he'd be buried forever in outer space, or be the first human to successful walk on the moon's surface .
I've thought of this so many times and can't believe how bad ass that crew was for taking that trip.