July 18, 1969: Into the moon’s embrace


The LM instrument panels and windows


Flight day three, continuing our translunar coast,

rolling against the sun, barbeque mode

to even the heat load — called “PTC”

passive thermal control

as we float through one last day of relative rest,

routine chores — navigation checks, battery charging,

our course so precise, a midcourse correction burn is canceled.


Yet we feel it increase, the pressure to make ready

enter the Lunar Module, something added to the flight plan.

Without powering it up, we make it ready for the hectic time ahead.


Eagle sleeps; we sleep

— or try to — and an hour into our rest period

we cross an invisible line

into the lunar sphere of gravity.

We can’t sense it, but begin to accelerate,

succeed or fail, toward destiny

The moon begins to draw us in.


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