Saturday, July 16, 2016

Apollo 11 - I was there

47 years ago today, my father rented a small plane from the Piper Aircraft plant where he worked and flew my brother and I north to Cape Canaveral to watch the launch of Apollo 11. (We were, of course, a outside the 10-mile air exclusion zone, but it was plenty close enough.)   I will always remember that I watched humans leave for the Moon with my own eyes, What bothers me is that my children haven't seen us leave for another world, and a lot of shortsighted politicians have made it very uncertain when they might have that chance. Godspeed Neil, Buzz, and Mike. You were the best of us.

It may have been one small step for (a) man, as Neil said with a slight flub, but it really was a giant leap.  
Neil, one one of my heroes I never got a chance to meet, has left us.  Mike and Buzz are still telling the story: I've met Buzz several times, and he's a great guy: my daughter still has the calendar he signed for her gradeschool class.  
I do believe there are entirely practical reasons for us to develop a civilization that includes outposts in space: new resources, new technology, the protection of our world from asteroids, and so on. But I believe in the romantic side of space exploration, too. Civilizations that don't look beyond horizons  recede from them, eventually into nonexistence. 
We need dreams. Sure, we've got a lot left to do on this planet, but we're not meant to stay on it. We're meant to keep reaching beyond.

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