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> No one - not even NASA - realized the obvious at the time; the astronauts were never going to be human beings after their moon walks. They were going to be such and such who walked on the moon.

Some of this inability to foresee the impacts on the lives of these astronauts happened because going to the moon was so much bigger than anything that had been done before. But I wonder how much of the long-term impacts also stems from the fact that we stopped going any farther than a low earth orbit. At the time of Apollo, I think everyone assumed we would keep going to the moon, and soon go beyond the moon. I don't think anyone anticipated that there'd only be twelve moonwalkers as of 2019. If we going to the moon was as commonplace now as people anticipated in the late 60s and early 70s, Neil Armstrong's fame probably would have been a lot more bearable. We wouldn't have to constantly ask the same 12 people what it's like to stand on the moon.

Have you read MoonDust? It's a book about exactly what you described, what it was like for these men to try and build a life on earth after having walked on the moon. It comes up in most threads about Apollo this summer, and it's a great read.


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