40 years ago today we landed on the moon. Reflections, predictions.

We’ve rounded up the best of what’s out there. Presenting highlights, reflections, predictions and a few book reviews commemorating the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, the first manned mission to land on the Moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon while pilot Michael Collins orbited above. There were nine Apollo missions to the moon in which 12 astronauts walked on the moon. All nine missions occurred between December 1968 and December 1972. What has happened since?

Thirteen former Apollo crewmen including Neil Armstrong, Frank Borman, Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell (remind me to tell you about my dinner with the lovely Lovell just hours after Howard Stern’s Stuttering John interviewed him) and Gene Cernan, recently participated in a panel discussion at the Aviation Hall of Fame. The talk was moderated by former ABC News anchor David Hartman–a former officer in the Air Force whose children are proving to be as remarkably accomplished as he is– who also happens to be a friend of mine. I asked David to share his reflections of Apollo’s anniversary with us. Here’s a guest post from David Hartman. (Thanks, David!)

Jim Bell, author of MOON-3-D, tells us why we ought to return to the moon. (Do you agree with him?) His book, MOON 3-D, is a work of art with 3D images capturing much of what the moon-walkers witnessed as they explored our nearest celestial neighbor. I must have showed this book off to a dozen friends already. A detailed review will follow from Josh’s dad 🙂

Josh reviewed “Look to the Stars” by Buzz Aldrin and artist Wendell Minor. I’d like to add that if you’re looking for a way to engage your youngster with the world beyond Wii and Facebook (and I share your pain), let little Ronnie get lost in the dreamy images and “edutaining” story-telling of Look to the Stars. Truly a wonderful book and already among my 7-year-old’s short list of favorites.

Rod Pyle’s Missions to the Moon, the complete story of man’s greatest adventure, is a must read for those who wish to relive the glory years. It’s ALL here. In fact, with its 150 photographs, removable historic documents (including a copy of the log book of the ill-fated Apollo 13) and well-written recap of the space program, even the most avid space enthusiast will learn something new.  I invited a friend to read it and she summed up the experience pretty well: “I felt like I was watching a good movie and I definitely learned a lot about global efforts–and reasons–to explore space.  I’m really not into science so I was surprised that I was captivated by this book…but I was.”  And here’s a captivating guest blog post from author Rod Pyle: The End of NASA?

Rounding out the celebration:

Scientific American explores “four decades after mankind’s giant leap, a look at the harrowing first lunar landing, the Apollo missions that never flew, and how the historic event looked from the Soviet Union.”

Popular Science tells us which company manufactured the USA flag that’s on the moon and nine other “things you didn’t know about the Apollo 11 moon landing.”

And, Discover Magazine weighs in on “what’s next” for the U.S. space program.

Here’s a terrific EarthSky audio interview with Buzz Aldrin. Hooray, my question was chosen from among those submitted to the author via Twitter. I wanted to know what it was like for Buzz to rap with Snoop Doggy Dog. Check out his response.

Readers: Subscriber TomJoe asks us to consider if we will live to see the day when the U.S. develops a science program that ignites America’s passion as the space program did. Hmmmm. What do you you think?

Cheers and happy anniversary Apollo 11!