The Eagle Once Landed

Geeking Out 41 Years Ago

The mission patch for Apollo 11. Courtesy NASA.

So, I know where I was 41 years ago this week: glued to the TV watching the Apollo 11 landings and first humans walking on the Moon.  It was a special time — a time when I honestly thought that maybe by the time I got out of high school or even college, that people would be regularly traveling to the Moon for vacations, commerce, exploration, and maybe even to live.

It’s a promise that humans have been unable to fulfill for a number of good and bad reasons. But, for me, the wonder of those days is still there.  I still get a little wistful when I see the pictures and videos and think about how we all were so excited in those times.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin sets out an experiment during the Apollo 11 mission. Courtesy NASA.

They were part of America’s great leap to space, and in most ways, our country has done a LOT of exploration. We have robot probes that have explored (and some still are exploring) the planets. We’ve learned to study our OWN planet, as pictures from NASA and NOAA and other space agencies attest.   But, we’ve never returned people to the Moon, and that’s disappointing.

Still, the dream is alive and the pictures remind us of what can be. It may be that people other than Americans will be the next to step on the Moon — just as people from other countries have taken up the cause of space exploration and made it part of their national outreach and honor, too.  That’s not a bad thing — space is becoming an international endeavor. I’m happy that we were the first to go to the Moon. I just hope we’re not the last.

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