Monday, July 20, 2009
REACHING FOR THE MOON...
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to step foot on the moon. His words, recorded on a scratchy tape became some of the most famous words in modern history:
"One small step for man -- one giant leap for mankind."
It makes chills run down my spine just to think about it. How very momentous an event this was. Humans had left their own planet, traveled through the vacuum of space and reached our nearest bumpy, rocky neighbor The Moon, landed and stepped out onto it.
Since that time, science fiction writers have continued to dream of reaching other planetary objects -- Mars in particular is a big draw (and if you haven't read Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy about terraforming Mars --DO SO). But our pace following up those dreams with reality has come up far shorter.
At the top of this post is a picture of a book which Buzz Aldrin wrote in 2005, illustrated by Wendell Minor that tells younger readers all about the adventures he had in 1969. For many young children, the idea of stepping foot on the moon is nothing spectacular -- it's a fact in their history books. They don't really understand just how difficult it was, how much blood, sweat, tears, and how many hardships preceded the bouncy steps down the lander's stairway and out onto the surface of the moon. Buzz Aldrin's short walk was the culmination of a decade of technological innovation, of tragic disasters and lost lives, of small accomplishments and spectacular triumphs.
What a day.