I think we're going to the moon because it's in the nature of the human being to face challenges. It's by the nature of his deep inner soul... we're required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream. Neil Armstrong
Friday, July 17, 2009
Space....The Final Frontier
As many of you have probably noticed I have a NASA Image of the Day on my side bar. I am fascinated by everything having to do with space. I marvel at the beautiful bodies made up of gases and debris. I am amazed at the complexity and simplicity of it all. I never tire of hearing about the space shuttle missions and it makes me sad that, today, we take it all for granted. To me it is nothing short of miraculous that we can actually explore space and come home safely.
I know the exact moment when this fascination began. It is one of those moments that is burned into my memory. I can smell the smells and feel the air and I can even hear my dad's voice. It is one of the most vivid memories I have.
I was ten years old that summer. I knew there were men in space but I really didn't pay that much attention to what was going on. Until that night. I can smell the popcorn popping and hear my dad calling my brother and I into the family room. I knew it was something special because with our popcorn we got to have a glass of ice cold Pepsi. Pepsi was reserved for special occasions only. I sat on the floor in front of our black and white console TV, watching Walter Cronkite. Another indication something big was about to happen. For those in my generation, nothing important happened in the world without Walter to tell you all about it. At first I was kind of antsy because there were just a bunch of scientists talking on and on and I was getting bored. But then the most amazing thing happened. There, coming into focus on the screen, were pictures from inside the lunar module, sitting on the surface of the moon. Pictures of Neil Armstrong descending the stairs to take that first historic step. In that moment I was hooked. It amazed and astounded me and I wanted to see more. I got the significance of what a huge step that was when I looked at my father's face. There was pride and a sense of awe. He made me realize that this was no ordinary day. This was the day that a man walked on the moon for the first time, and he was an American.
Still today, when I look to the sky and see the moon, I think of that night and I marvel at what was accomplished. I look forward to the day when we go back and what we will find then. I know that there are differing opinions as to whether or not we should spend money on the space program. I believe we should. For the detractors I offer this: Spend one day without your cell phone, computer, i-pod, GPS, digital or satellite TV, state of the art military protection and most of the appliances you have in your home. All of these things have been either invented or improved because of the space program.
Monday, July 20, 2009 is the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon and I am still amazed by it all.