WI: Pete Conrad is the first man on the Moon

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by ColeMercury, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. ColeMercury is male, FYI

    Apr 7, 2007
    Republic of Australia
    Having read about Charles "Pete" Conrad, I have become convinced that he was much cooler than Neil Armstrong ever was. He was a very likeable and funny guy, and he was much more keen to be a public figure than Armstrong with his OTL reclusive tendencies. And the thing is, there was a very good chance that Conrad & his crew could have ended up being the first manned mission to Mars - but then after the Apollo 1 disaster, Apollo 8's "orbit-the-moon-without-a-lunar-module" mission was inserted into the schedule and so Armstrong's crew ended up on Apollo 11, being first due to the luck of being at the right place on the NASA roster.

    So, what if that hadn't happened, and Apollo 11 had Pete Conrad, Alan Bean and Richard F Gordon as its crew? What would the implications be for the space program and so on?
  2. DaveJ576 Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2008
    Portage, MI
    As much as I like the all Navy crew of Conrad, Bean, and Gordon, I don't think that it would have made much of an impact if they had been first. The political and economic issues that were driving Apollo and the entire U.S. manned space program were much larger and more powerful than the personalities of one or even three men.

    Conrad would have certainly been much more popular with the public than Armstrong and his effervescent personality may have maintained a slightly greater level of public interest for a few months longer. Unfortunately, the rock star effect would have worn off fairly quickly with the jaded and skeptical American public and in fairly short order the OTL would have reasserted itself.

    This event was truly one of the great moments of human history, one that historians will be writing about for centuries to come. Given this, wouldn't the reserved and humble Neil Armstrong be a better choice for historians to wax eloguently about than the comedic raconteur Pete Conrad?

    Do not misunderstand what I have said. I have nothing but the highest level of respect for both Armstrong and Conrad. Both men were dedicated professionals and top drawer aviators. They were, however, polar opposites in personalities.