Monday, July 20, 2009

One small step...40 years ago today, Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on ground not of this Earth. In July 1969, Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins blasted off to the moon in the powerful Saturn rocket (second photo). Today, those three met with President Obama, who appears to be not quite giving the Vulcan salute. He'd just shaken hands with Neil Armstrong, and as I never tire of telling, I met Armstrong when he spoke at the Farewell to James Doohan convention in 2004. Nichelle Nichols introduced me to him.
If few outside of science fiction fans believed humans would walk on the moon by 1969, few science fiction fans or writers imagined that the Apollo program would be the last voyage beyond Earth orbit in more than three decades. NASA has plans for a return to the moon and then on to Mars, and the astronauts today talked about it, but got no commitment from the President--although the administration is studying it, and with all the other spending priorities, they are unlikely to announce anything for at least a couple of years. But the new NASA director Obama appointed seems determined to get to Mars, and beyond.
As for the moon landing, William Shatner wrote about it in one of his books. Star Trek had been cancelled and he was out of work, a divorce left him broke and essentially homeless, so he watched Neil Armstrong while lying on his back in his makeshift camper and residence in the parking lot of a dinner theatre where he was appearing, on a tiny TV balanced on his chest, pulling in the signal with a small antennae augmented by aluminum foil. But as it turned out, even if NASA wasn't going where no one had gone before in the next few decades, Captain Kirk--and several captains after him--would be.


spacepoint said...

The first moon landing was the greatest turning point in our history and definetely the most important point in what space exploration is concerned.

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