“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” — Neil Armstrong, 20 July 1969
Today marks the 50th anniversary of something completely unprecedented in human history–a human being landing, and the next day setting foot, on another world. Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. walked on the lunar surface, while Michael Collins became the second person to orbit the moon alone.
But why should we care?
The desktops, laptops, tablets, and cell phones we use are partially based on developments made during the space program. Discoveries and technology have had a major affect on the development of a great number of fields including communication, transportation, and medicine. A number of people, maybe someone you know, maybe you, are alive because of that. It even led to the development of seemingly unrelated inventions including the sports bra.
But there’s an aspect of the moon landing that’s often ignored, and that’s the fundamental human drive to explore. Whether we take the biblical Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden story literally or not, it portrays the first two human beings leaving their home and exploring elsewhere. Throughout history, exploration and development have gone hand in hand.
Medieval China sent ships far away and had a thriving culture; when the exploration stopped, the culture started to stagnate. We live in a time where virtually the entire Earth (with the partial exception of the ocean), has been explored. There’s one, final frontier left: space.
EDIT: The names of Aldrin and Collins had been mistakenly switched. It is now corrected.
For author/astronomer David Lee Summer’s take on this, see here.
An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.