Friday, July 20, 2012

One Small Step for Man….

apollo 11

On July 20, 1969 at 8:18 pm Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to land on the surface of the Moon. The “space race” officially ended and America was declared the winner. More importantly, a new age of exploration and discovery took a giant step forward.

This patch was the official insignia for the mission, designed by the third member of the Apollo 11 Crew, Michael Collins. (He remained in the shuttle while the others took the Lunar Module to the surface.) He chose an eagle to represent America (our National Bird), and to represent peace put an olive branch in its beak; it was moved to the talons after government officials decided they looked too “warlike” empty. The surface of the Moon is in the foreground, with the Earth in the distance, and the name of the mission across the top. The astronauts chose to leave their own names off so it would represent “everyone” who played a part in making this accomplishment possible.

In the early hours of July 21, Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon, where he spoke his now famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Aldrin soon joined him, describing the view as “Magnificent devastation.”

I’ve been fascinated by space for as long as I can remember. When I was in fifth grade I wrote a letter to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, telling them of my interest, and they sent me an envelope full of photos taken of various planets, with information about each on the back. These were full-color, 8x10 photos; I wish I could say I still had them, but they were lost at some point, probably during one of my moves after high school. But trust me, they were amazing!

Now I want you to take a minute and close your eyes (after you finish reading this part, of course, or you won’t know what you’re supposed to be picturing); if you’re anything like me, you’ll find it difficult to imagine how beyond words awe inspiring it would be to stand on the Moon and see Earth hanging in the background. Wow. Just thinking about it inspires me to write a poem or something. In fact, I think I will, and I’ll call it “Magnificent Devastation.”

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