I didn’t post this up yesterday because I was on the road, but July 20th was the anniversary of Apollo 11’s landing on the moon, marking the first time when a human has set foot on a non-terrestrial body.
At 10:56 (EST), Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon and left us with the famous line: That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. Those words always send a dense chill up and down my spine – it’s so simplistic yet elegant, so full of meaning. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin followed shortly thereafter and the two spent just a couple of hours gathering samples, taking pictures and hopping around. Michael Collins spent the time up in the capsule, waiting for the crew to return.
The impact that the landing has had on humanity is staggering – it was the culmination of years of research and major advancements in sciences. While this is clearly the most visible event in space history, aside from Yuri Gagarin’s milestone as the first person to leave the planet, it was preceeded by numerous other events that seem to escape the public consciousness, as well as the followup missions.
These men were the last true pioneers and heroes.