Monday, July 20, 2009

The Moon Landing 40th Anniversary

Today is a very important anniversary. Unless you live under a rock, or maybe on the moon, you know that today is the 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing.
The reason that I capitalized it when I talked about the Moon Landing is because there have been lots of things that have landed on the moon, but I am referring to THE Moon Landing, the very first one where a human being actually walked on the surface of something that was not the Planet Earth. Just think about that, would you? Stop, take a moment, and think about the enormity of what was accomplished on that day. Peel away all the propaganda and alternate conspiracy theories that have sprung up over the years: Don't think about the political significance of winning the space race, or the many billions of dollars it cost for us to get there, or the people who say it was all filmed on a sound stage somewhere, or any of that stuff. Think about how a MAN walked on something in SPACE. Outside of the atmosphere. On ANOTHER world. Now that's rad. To the max.
I was not alive on July 20, 1969, okay? And my generation has not been fortunate to experience something like the Moon Landing. We've had our share of JFK-style moments for sure, but we've never had something occur for which we are thoroughly prepared beforehand. I can imagine what it was like though, to be gathered around the television with your friends and family listening to Walter Cronkite (who passed away Saturday night, by the way; we will talk about that tomorrow) narrate one of the top ten moments in the human history. I mean, I know it was in grainy 1969 television and not in super HD 1080p digital remastered satellite transmission (okay, I am sure it was satellite transmitted but you know what I mean) like we would have it today but for that time it had to be pretty remarkable to watch Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin step out of the Apollo 11 module and wander around on the surface of such an exotic place. Can you imagine the wonder of actually WATCHING A HUMAN BEING WALK ON THE MOON! I know that "officially" people in other countries, mainly the Soviet Union and probably China and I would guess Madagascar because they didn't get a chance to watch it, were not impressed. In fact, the Associate Press had a story running across its lines about how the moon landing sort of deflated the Russians at the time. So you could imagine how much it would INFLATE the spirits of people all across America. And it should have inflated people all across the world just through the enormity of the whole thing.
So really, on this the 40th Anniversary of something that as of right now we can't do anymore, and that we haven't done since 1972, think about how momentous of an event that really was. Seriously. If you called NASA right now, like just looked them up in the Houston phone book and dialed the number of their front desk, they would promptly inform you that they are not equipped to land a man on the Moon. How do you feel about that? That is how monumental that event was. It has also served to sort of set the ground work for the trip to Mars that NASA wants to do because let's be honest you can't go to Mars if you haven't been to the Moon.
Like I was saying, on this the 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing just take a moment to reflect on just how big and impressive of an event it really is and was. Think about the millions and millions of man hours that went into it. Think about all the men who died in the many space missions that came before Apollo 11 was able to successfully put that man on the moon. Just let your mind settle on the whole event for a couple of minutes while you eat lunch in the park or wait for YouTube to load at your desk at work. Just think about it. Man has walked on the moon. And it happened for the first time forty years ago today. Wow.

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