Back on the summer evening of July 20th, 1969, forty five years ago tonight (I’m writing this on July 20th, 2014), the late Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin literally stepped into history when they were the first human beings to land on the Moon.
This historic milestone has received some discussion in the media recently. So far, while the coverage has been less than it was at the 40th anniversary (back in 2009, the anniversary of Woodstock actually got more press – I suppose that is a statement on American society), it doesn’t seem to be upstaged by any other anniversaries this time around.
While the landing of Apollo 11 and the subsequent lunar missions were impressive achievements, they wound up representing high water marks in space achievement and, outside of the amazing success of our robotic exploration of the solar system, are fading into history.
Sadly, the Apollo astronauts are also passing from the scene. I have a feeling that, by the time a human being ever returns to the Moon – most likely a Chinese person – none of the original Moon travelers will be around.
On the brighter side, by the time people get back to the Moon, we might be better able to deal with the various issues concerning lunar travel (the ubiquitous lunar dust and radiation exposure) than the Apollo crews.
In the meantime, let’s honor the original lunar travelers while they can still appreciate it.