When the Eagle landed

July 20, 2009

Today is the 40th anniversary of one of the great moments in not just American history, but all humanity’s. Six thousand years after humans built their first cities, three men left the Earth and two of them walked on another world. On July 20th, 1969, the lunar module Eagle landed on the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their famous walk. Here’s some remastered video from NASA of that time:

I was 11 at the time and remember watching the landing with my Dad and then rushing outside to look at the Moon. To someone like me who had grown up watching every mission from Mercury to Apollo and who loved science fiction movies and TV, this seemed like only the beginning of a fabulous adventure, not the high-water mark of a program that would die only a few missions later, a bright future that became a might-have-been.

With all due respect to the men and women who worked on the shuttle program (soon to be shut down) in the years after and especially to those who lost their lives, I still have to say it:

I remember when we had a real space program.

LINKS: Charles Krauthammer on The Moon We Left Behind. Tom Wolfe on the real reasons Washington gutted the space program. The speech Nixon would have given, had the mission ended in disaster. Exurban League has the transcript. Hot Air has links to Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photos showing the various landing sites. From reader John H. in the comments come a link to a really neat site. Check it out: We Choose the Moon. Iowahawk presents a bold yet modest proprosal to reinvigorate the space program: send Congress to the Moon.

PARTING SHOT: To the lunatics out there who think the Moon landing was faked – where do you think we hid Obama’s birth certificate, eh?  Silly

ONE MORE THING: Poor Michael Collins. Not only was he left “upstairs” in the Apollo XI command module, but I forgot to mention him in the post.  Seems he always gets forgotten…