One Small Step — 40 Years Later

by Ryan on July 20, 2009

in Anything Else,Nostalgia,Pop Culture,science

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the Moon.  Here’s the film from forty years ago.  We went back to the moon five more times since then until 1972 when the expense of the trip (coupled with not finding all that much) justified scrapping the program and moving towards Skylab and a reusable space shuttle.  No one’s followed us and aside from a few satellites, the Moon has been rather lonely.  Fellow Apollo 11 astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, suggests that while going back to the Moon may be nice, it’s not as cool as going to Mars

Why do many feel like we need to go back into space again?  I guess America needs great things to do and to believe in again.  Our government, politicians, and culture continuously let us down.  My students hear stories about the time when America did great things and couldn’t be stopped (waaaay back in the 1980s)!  They don’t feel it though.  In 2001, a good 20% of Americans believed that the landings were faked, filmed in a Hollywood basement or somewhere like that.  Most of them were probably Gen-Xers who were a little too into The X-Files and probably believed all sorts of other black-helicopter-like things too.  Here’s site which tries to debunk some of their Moon claims

But I think our desire to go back into space comes from the idea that Americans know that we can be great, but don’t seem able to embrace that nowadays. What could be greater than visiting another world?  I think that’s what Aldrin’s getting at — aim higher America!  If we’re going to aim into space again, we should be thinking of Mars.  Apollo 11 had about as much technical complexity as an iPhone!  Mars or bust!

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