Sat. Aug 24th, 2019

«I was afraid, I thought there would be Martians on the Moon and that they would attack»

Some say that the first time is overrated. It's true, it may not be the best -The first kiss is usually disastrous-, but awakens sensations that never return. The man will return to the Moon, NASA predicts in 2024, 50 years after an astronaut set foot on the satellite for the first time. But, let's be disappointed, we're back to everything, few things get our attention and there will not be entire expectant families, sitting in front of the television following the broadcast of the event. In July of 1969 more than 20 million Spaniards saw the Apollo 11 moon landing live. It was told in TVE Jesús Hermida, in black and white, from the Space Center of Houston. "My hair is still standing on end." Eduardo Adarve has come to the headquarters of LA RAZÓN to see those images again, half a century after they were recorded. And yet, it seems that only a few days have passed because he is able to recall, with a precision that frightens those who are not (able to remember) what they ate yesterday, how he experienced it: "Very nervous", about all.

That summer when Eduardo was 11 and a half his parents sent him to Estepona to his uncle Juan's house, with his grandmother and a cousin of the same age. Juan worked as a pastry chef in a hotel and, although he had to get up early, he always answered the curious questions of his nephew. "As a child I was interested in science, astronomy and above all, UFOs ... he would follow my ball even if he died of sleep," he says. The days before that July 21 "in Spain there was no talk of anything else in the bars, in the stores ... and also the children we rode our films if there would be Martians on the Moon, if they would fight with the astronauts" .

The truth is that our country played an important role in that mission thanks to the space stations that NASA established in Maspalomas (Canary Islands), Robledo de Chavela and Fresnedillas (Madrid). The latter was of the utmost importance, as it was the one he collected, after a long silence, the first sign of Apollo 11 after leaving the hidden side of the Moon.

D-Day was, however, like any other for Eduardo's grandmother, so he sent him to bed with his cousin at the time the children should fall asleep. But he could not miss that. What if an extraterrestrial appeared and he did not know? So he asked his uncle "to please wake me up." They were lucky because in the 60s there were no televisions in all the houses, it is estimated that only about three million, with the luck that one was in theirs. Juan took pity on his nephew and warned him when Neil Armstrong was about to descend from the ship. "I remember that my uncle was sitting on a sofa in front of the television and I, instead of taking a seat, crouched behind him and grabbed his arm." "I was afraid," he admits. He assures that he has recorded the whole sequence, but if he has to choose a single moment he stays with the one that starred Armstrong when he first stepped on the lunar terrain and pronounced that phrase that has remained for posterity: "A small step for man ...". «When he laid his foot on the surface, I breathed a sigh of relief». Eduardo was convinced that "the astronauts would sink, he had imagined it as a kind of quicksand." And also that there would be hidden beings to hunt humans. That ability to fantasize was the fault of Erich von Däniken's books that fell into his hands, a Swiss writer famous for his ufology works and his theories about aliens visiting Earth in a remote past. "Yes, I thought that when the first man arrived on the Moon, they would attack and mount the Seventh Cavalry," he recalls with laughter.

Although many people still doubt today about the truth of these events, Eduardo says that "at that moment, whatever they say, most people believed it for the simple fact that it was on television, and in the 60s what went on TV was true, period. The skepticism came rather from the older people, like my grandfather Antonino, because they did not understand it. The conspiracy theories emerged later ». One of the most widespread is that, in full space race between the USSR and EE. The Americans opted to cheat and filmed on a set the arrival of Apollo 11 to the satellite. A version that gained more strength if it fits in 2001 when a false documentary called "Operation Moon" was released, which delved into the possibility that this was a film by Stanley Kubrick, the director of "The mechanical orange".

"They are nothing but nonsense," Edward replies indignantly. "The Americans brought 382 kilos of lunar rock and these can not be falsified given their age, nor the television signals that came from there, the Russians would have intercepted it." All this has been learned after years and years of excessive love for science. His was to be a biologist, "I belong to the generation that grew up with Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente and Carl Sagan", but the courses of life led him to study Pharmacy. He does not blame him, nor does he say it with regret, because he has never ceased to be interested in science or actively participate to promote it. He was a member of the Astronomical Association of Madrid, until he moved to Bohadilla. Now he belongs to the Astronomical Association of Madrid Sur and has founded his own science club. In addition, he is a volunteer guide at the Visitor Training Center (CEV) that has the Deep Madrid Communication Complex in Robledo de Chavela. "In the CEV there is a museum with a room dedicated to the Apollo missions, with models of the ships and other real pieces, but what people really like is listening to anecdotes." No need to ask which is the most applauded because he already anticipates: "The one of journalist Oriana Fallaci with the commander of Apollo 12". "He never paid the 500 euros he lost in the bet," he adds.

He likes to tell others everything he has learned about space, but with his feet on Earth. Although space tourism is becoming more feasible, he would not wear the astronaut suit "even if he could afford it". "Not even if life or remains of microbial life were found on Mars." Eduardo does not rule it out: "The Universe has to be full of life, if not waste!".

(tagsToTranslate) 50 years of arrival on the moon

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