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Originally posted July 22 2004 at 00:07 under General and Physics. 0 Comments. Trackbacks Disabled.

A Momentous Day

My Desk, at home

I was going to post this entry on the actual anniversary, but with playing around with my blog and then with proper work, it has become delayed somewhat. In any case, I’m posting it now. Thirty-Five years ago man set foot on only extraterrestial surface he has ever visited. Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon and and became one of the most famous men in history. Not long before Armstrong himself had piloted the Eagle lander during its perilous last moments of decent (during which the onboard computer—very primative by todays standards—basically overloaded and started issuing warnings as Armstrong attempted to avoid rocks below). To mark the occassion, the original photographic film has been taken out of deep storage and digitally rescanned. The Project Apollo Archive is available for all to marvel at the wonder that is another world (and doubtless feed the conspiracy theorists more “ammunition”). NASA also have a piece about the anniversary, logically enough.

The saddening thing is that after Armstrong and Aldrin’s triumph only ten other men would follow them to the Moon’s surface. Only those dozen men (and no women) have ever felt earth which isn’t Earth’s beneath their feet. In December 1972 Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt left the Moon behind. Nobody has been back since that Apollo 17 mission. It’s 35 years since we were first there but it’s also 33 1/2 years since we were last there.

I’ve mentioned my support for the idea of going to Mars before. Part of getting there must be a return to the moon. The techniques and skills developed there will undoubtedly help finally free us from the shackles of Earth. I would not be surprised if when we get to Mars, the mission included men and women who had already Moon walked.

So, on this anniversary, let us reflect on the achievments of three and a half decades ago. But let us not be contented with such past glories that many of us never knew. In another three and a half decades we must hope that not only is there really a man on the Moon once again but also one on Mars.

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This Crazy Fool

Dr Ian Scott
Croydon (and Gateshead), United Kingdom
Bullding Services Engineer (EngDesign), PhD in Physics (University of York), football fanatic (Newcastle United), open source enthusiast (mainly Mozilla)

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