Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Man on the Moon

40 years ago yesterday and today* I was a 14 year old geek, glued to a B&W TV set watching grainy pictures of Neil and Buzz on the Moon. I also remember feeling profoundly sorry for Michael Collins (yes, I remember the names) orbiting the scene in the command module being more or less forgotten. I remember Armstrong and Aldrin landing the Eagle manually when the automatic systems failed. I remember the tears in my eyes when the words "Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed" skipped across the intervening 250,000 miles in just over a second.
As a geeky science-nut, I loved the whole US space programme. Mercury to Gemini to Apollo. I remember going to church to pray for the brave guys of Apollo 1 (Grissom, White and Chaffee) who died fighting the flames inside their capsule. I held my breath for days with Apollo 13 (Lovell, Swigert and Haise). I was in church again on their safe return.
Apollo was certainly "one small step for man" but the "giant leap for mankind" became a kind of cul-de-sac road to nowhere. As a now aged geeky science-nut, I hope they/us/somebody has the vision and expanse of ambition to get us moving again in space.
Let's go to Mars.

* I was in Australia at the time and although the landing was made on 20th July in US time, it was already the 21st in Australia. This is why I get this question wrong playing Trivial Pursuit.

No comments: