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Web offers many ways to remember astronaut's life, accomplishments


Former Astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad,Jr., the third man to walk on the moon, died last week in a motorcycle accident.

Unlike Neil Armstrong, whose role as the first moonwalker kept his name recognition high, Conrad's name is lesser know; however, his accomplishments in the U.S. space program are many.

As a longtime space program watcher, I set out on the Web to refresh my memory about Conrad, and his contributions in space exploration.

Conrad flew in space four times: two missions in the Gemini program (Gemini 5 and Gemini 11), one flight in Apollo 12, and finally, Skylab in 1973.

If the names Gemini, Skylab and Apollo don't ring a bell, here are some links to space program content that'll refresh your memory.

The Apollo Manned Space Program Web site, at www.nasm.edu/APOLLO/Apollo.html, has extensive information on all the Apollo missions.

In the 1960s, each individual Apollo mission was given its own, very unique and stylish patch, and these patches are re-created here and used as links to content about each mission.

Conrad was commander of Apollo 12, which was nicknamed the "Yankee Clipper," complete with an image of an ocean-going sailing ship on the patch.

A link at the site provides a list of images from the mission, which are still spectacular some 30 years later.

This site is part of the National Air and Space Museum.

The Kennedy Space Center also features some nice content, with links to archives of material for a wide range of space flight missions.

There's a lot of content on the page, so you'll have to scroll down a bit, but the links to the Apollo program are there, and well worth seeking out.

Point your Web browser to http://www.ksc.nasa.gov/

In the Apollo content section at the Kennedy Space Center site, there's a section that anyone interested in space flight and re-living the days of walking on the moon should check out.

The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal is undoubtedly the most exactly detailed description of each mission. The technical jargon can be a bit overwhelming, but if you want to immerse yourself in the excitement and the perils of space travel during the race to the moon, this is the Web site to do it.

There's a lot of other information on the Apollo program as well, including audio and video clips, and a site search engine.

Visit The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/alsj/frame.html

NET GROWTH. The Internet keeps growing and growing and growing.

That's not news to anyone who uses it, but a new study estimates that worldwide growth of the Internet will mean more than 130 million people around the globe will be online by year's end.

The study, by New York-based eMarketer, predicts that number to more than double by 2003.

Pretty explosive growth, especially when you consider that at the end of last year, studies estimated there to be 95 million estimated Internet users.

Some interesting trends emerge from the report:

The rest of the world is catching up: North America no longer has the majority of Internet users within its boundaries.

Look for an e-commerce explosion: Revenues from sales on the Internet are predicted to zoom from 98 billion this year to $1.2 trillion by 2003.

For additional details on the report, visit www.emarketer.com.

FREE PC. Micron Electronics is joining the "free PC" trend by offering a computer to customers who sign up for an Internet service package offered by the company.

The deal includes three years of Internet services, online training, software, and more.

The total package costs $1,087 -- which includes a 400MHz Intel Celeron-equipped PC with 32MB of RAM, a 4.3 GB hard drive, CD-ROM and monitor.

The deal is similar to packages offered by AOL and Microsoft, which offered consumers as much as $400 in rebates if they buy a sign up for a three-year Internet package, and then purchase a computer system from a specific retailer.

But how free is "free?"

Critics say locking into any Internet access plan for three years is short-sighted, particularly if any one of several faster-access modes are released -- which is likely to happen in the next three years.

Stay tuned.

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

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