July 20, 2012
Apollo 11 Moon Landing Anniversary
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson today commented this was "the only positive event in the last 50 years for which everyone remembers where they were when it happened." Indeed!
We need more such positive accomplishments; to return to the moon, go to asteroids and take that next breathtaking step onto the rust-red soil of Mars! Not one day in the far future, but to go to the moon and an asteroid as JFK said "in this decade" and go on to Mars in the mid 2020's.
Our space program is indeed "American Exceptionalism" defined!
It all started at the US Capitol 51 years ago when President Kennedy challenged our nation to go to the moon; "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."
The nation rallied in support, and just eight years later made history for all time as Apollo 11 blasted off with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, travelled a quarter of a million miles, and the lander descended to the surface of the moon.
Neil Armstrong announced the landing with these words, "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." Few understood how close to disaster the astronauts were, for Armstrong had to take manual control and use up almost all the fuel to avoid boulders.
That's why we sent the "Right Stuff" to the moon!
Watch this remarkable video of Neil Armstrong narrating the final minutes of the landing in 2011 in the House of Representatives. Your author attended that hearing and witnessed this in person:
His words echoed around the world as he took that step which will remain one of humanity's greatest achievements: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
(historical note: later audio analysis proves Armstrong really did say the "a.")
What were YOU doing on that date; your thoughts, emotions and memories? For those too young, what were your thoughts when you first learned of or saw videos of the landing? Please share your comments on this page!