Paul Theroux’s profile in June of Francisco Toledo, Mexico’s greatest living painter, showed “there are still many good people in the world working to make it a better place,” an Oakland, California, reader said. But our story about Stockton Rush’s plan to shuttle commercial passengers to the Titanic in a submarine gave Chuck Enzenauer a sinking feeling: “I’d suggest we leave deep-ocean exploration to the professionals, and not promote the ocean floor as a tourist destination,” he said on Facebook. Our cover story, a penetrating look at the Apollo 11 mission, ignited the greatest reactions. “Like Neil Armstrong, I am a naval aviator and knew him pretty well,” says Robert Dunn. “Apollo 11 remains one of the greatest American achievements even after 50 years.” Dennis Fakes of Huntsville, Alabama, asked, “Who knew Moon dust smelled? Thanks for this marvelous piece.”
To the Moon and Back
Your excellent article was a bit of a shock to me. As a young Air Force captain, I was the technical requirements and standards officer for the Gemini launch vehicle. It was the most challenging job I ever had, and my colleagues’ dedication was the highest I ever encountered. I had no inkling of the doubts at the top that you reveal, nor, to my knowledge, did my compatriots—and that was probably for the best.
— Joseph M. Ware | San Antonio, Texas
I was in Phuoc Vinh, South Vietnam, during the Moon landing. Because the locals usually spoke of a person acting crazy as “going to the Moon,” I heard a lot of Vietnamese saying the Americans have “gone crazy.”
— Michael Stancampiano | Ocean Shores, Washington
It should be fairly obvious to readers of this article that if we hadn’t had the Apollo program, we probably wouldn’t be sitting in front of a large computer screen or holding a smartphone reading about it. And, of course, a whole list of other technologies that might not have been developed, either. Thank you, NASA, and the politicians of this country who supported it, for changing the world.
— Richard Shagam | Smithsonian.com
Under the Sea
Many think that space exploration is the next frontier, but “Return to the Titanic” shows that the depths of the ocean may be. Not only in the future, but right now in 2019.
— William Tyminski | Medina, Ohio