Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Moon and the Man Who Walked On It

Yesterday, Neil Armstrong died.

"One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind," indeed. There are a lot of rumors about that trip, and Snopes as usual is reliable in rebutting and explaining them. There are plenty of tributes out to him that are better than I can do.

I wasn't even born when he walked on the moon. But, the fact that a man had walked on the moon changed history. Between his death and Sally Ride's, we can see history starting to fade. Luckily, we have much better record keeping than we've had in the past, so we won't be losing nearly as much as we used to lose when great people passed on.

The moon seems so far away, yet it has a huge impact on the planet. Not just in the literal, tide altering ways. Eclipses, full moons, whatever you can think of, the moon has been a part of mythology since we've got records of it. Walking on the moon, however, has done very little to demystify it. It is still a powerful symbol, even if we've planted American flags there.

Lucky for us, I think, we've had an amazing space program that's done more for humanity than simply beat the Soviets. America's astronauts will inspire our country probably for as long as we're a country. I tried to find a way to explain that more succinctly, but I was beaten to it: "As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind's first small step on a world beyond our own," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. Entirely true.



Curiosity, the nifty Mars rover, has some pretty big shoes to fill. Some day, when we get people to Mars, we'll need to try and recover Curiosity and the other Mars rovers to put them into the proper museum.

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