Monday, July 20, 2009

What A Glorious Day

"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." Nine words. Just nine words culminate the most impressive undertaking by humanity. Neil Armstrong's terse confirmation that the Lunar Module known as the "Eagle" touched down on the lifeless, colorless, completely desolate satellite of the Earth known to all of us simply as "The Moon". Tranquility Base (geez the space program is good at naming stuff), was the location. The day was July 20, 1969. I was ten years old, and thought that "boy, after this, we can do anything".
The importance of the Apollo program and its predecessors, Mercury and Gemini, is lost on many people born after we quietly backed away from deeper human exploration and focused on more utilitarian space missions. Oh, the Hubble is terrific, the pictures beautiful, and we have learned so much with it's launch. The International Space Station is cool, as are the various unmanned missions to Mars.
Apollo was different though. Human beings, like Magellan ventured off into territory unknown and unfriendly. Not only did they achieve the goal of reaching the moon, they came back safely. A youthful president exhorted this nation to achieve this goal only 8 years earlier and we did it!
Think of what we can do when we try. You don't have to think hard, just think two words. Apollo 11.

No comments:

Post a Comment