Monday, July 20, 2009

Fortieth anniversary of landing on the moon

We're very busy right now with guests, but we just couldn't let this day go by without comment. Forty years ago today (July 20, 1969), two human beings (Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin) landed a spaceship on the moon, and eventually got out and walked around a bit. A third astronaut, Michael Collins, stayed in orbit around the moon.

It's always seemed strange to me that we don't celebrate this day (July 20) as a holiday, along with April 12 (when Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth). I like to think that centuries from now, when only serious historians know who John Kennedy or Barack Obama were, or for that matter who George Washington was, school children will still know who Neil Armstrong was, and what he did.

Putting people on the moon with 1960s technology was right on the edge of what was even possible. The Soviet Union never managed it, despite having a space program that was in close competition with ours. Nobody else has even come close.

NASA has a photo album of the Apollo 11 mission, and a nice history of Apollo 11. And there are many more resources, no further away than your favorite search engine.

There are some great documentaries about the US space program out there. An excellent place to start is by watching the movie Apollo 13, about a later mission to the moon that didn't go quite so smoothly. Or you might just look up at the moon, and remember that once, people walked there. I wonder when people will walk around up there again.

Image Credit: NASA

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