Saturday, July 20, 2019

One Small Step For Man

Now this is a choice which this country must make, and I am confident that under the leadership of the Space Committees of the Congress, and the Appropriating Committees, that you will consider the matter carefully.

It is a most important decision that we make as a nation.  But all of you have lived through the last four years and have seen the significance of space and the adventures in space, and no one can predict with certainty what the ultimate meaning will be of mastery of space.

I believe we should go to the moon.  But I think every citizen of this country as well as the Members of Congress should consider the matter carefully in making their judgment, to which we have given attention over many weeks and months, because it is a heavy burden, and there is no sense in agreeing or desiring that the United States take an affirmative position in outer space, unless we are prepared to do the work and bear the burdens to make it successful.  if we are not, we should decide today and this year."
President John F. Kennedy, May 25, 1961, Speech to Congress

Fifty years ago today man first stepped on the moon.

The Eagle landed on the moon at 20:17:40 UTC on Sunday, July 20, 1969 carrying Buzz Aldrin and Neal Armstrong down to their moment in history.  “Houston, Tranquility Base here.  The Eagle has landed."  Aldrin commemorated the landing with a private communion, prepared by his pastor at Webster Presbyterian Church.  

With that landing, Armstrong and Aldrin became the first of twelve men to set foot on the moon.  Twelve over a period of fifty years, despite 326 attempted human spaceflights, beginning with Vostok 1.  A very rare brotherhood, indeed.

Space has always fascinated humans, from the very first moment we could see the stars.  From art to science, our trajectory had always been moving us to try and leave our atmosphere for that frontier beyond.  To reach the stars.

Space flight gave us perspective.  "It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth.  I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth.  I didn’t feel like a giant.  I felt very, very small.” Neil Armstrong.  It reminded us of our place in the universe.  On a pale, blue dot, suspended in a beam of light.  

I'm grateful with Artemis, we seem to be dreaming again.  We're seeking to reach even further.  Our new moon shot, now to human missions to Mars.  To push beyond the boundaries of what has been, and explore beyond our current experience.  Not through a space force, through the militarization of the final frontier.  But through the continued humanitarian discovery of the world beyond.

We're celebrating this milestone in a lot of interesting ways.  NASA has stunningly recreated point of view footage of Armstrong's landing on the moonCBS News livestreamed the footage of the launch of Apollo 11The National Air and Space Museum is projection mapping the Apollo 11 launch on the Washington Monument, for a pretty cool recreation.

May we keep pushing forward.  Hopefully in the next fifty years, we will have explored so much further beyond.

Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D.  We came in peace for all mankind.

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