Friday, July 17, 2009

Apollo 11

A few musings on the 40th anniversary of the 1st lunar landing...

Right now I'm watching astronauts at work on the ISS. In many ways it is all so different than the way we imagined it in those years before we went to the moon. Looking at the astronauts moving about the room they're in it all looks so normal. They're wearing comfortable pants, polo shirts, and socks. They float about, busy with work to do. No helmets, no aliens, no strange beeping noises, no robots or androids, just bright nerdy men and women, at the work of science. It seems much the same on the space shuttle, though the danger seems nearer as those vehicles are close to retirement.

I remember peering at a 14 inch black and white TV screen 40 years ago, eagerly anticipating the landing of the Eagle, and the first walk on the moon. I was a fan and always watched, although as time went by the coverage lessened as it became "normal" to go to the moon. How absurd. We are still so far away from it being "normal" to go to the moon. And it is not normal for the astronauts, encased in tiny rooms and vehicles, so far above the surface of the earth, to come and go. The danger is still exceptional, all the time.

Down here, most people alive were not born when that door opened and those legs appeared on that fuzzy black and white picture so long ago. Now, you can look at that footage on an ipod, Zune, or cell phone, as you walk about the supermarket, never thinking that the computer power in your hand is greater than they had to get those brave astronauts to the moon and back.

Happy Anniversary Apollo 11!

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