One Giant Leap: a reflection on the 45th Anniversary of the first manned lunar landing in history


Dear reader,

Today is July 20th, 2014 and if one looks at a calendar at the time this blog post is being written (4:56 pm CST), this is an obvious fact. What is not obvious (unless you’re a space nerd like me) is that exactly 45 years ago at this very minute, three men from planet Earth were orbiting the moon, some 218,000 miles from Earth. Two of those gentleman were making preparations for a brief landing on an ancient lava field on the lunar surface known as the Sea of Tranquility. Wow. Though it was quite a time ago it is still a chilling fact that for the first time since the dawn of history, an age old dream to bring earth to heaven and visit a place one can see in the sky has happened. As a student of aerospace engineering and rocket engine design I can somewhat appreciate just how difficult that was.

See that amazing photograph (above)? It is one of the most unique pictures every recorded on a roll of film, for it includes whether living or dead the remains of every human being who’s ever been born (before July 21st, 1969 of course) except Mr. Astronaut Michael Collins. Sorry Mike, but thanks for taking the photo, I think it came out quite well! Michael Collins’ job was to wait in the command/service module until his crew mates Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin returned from their stroll on Luna’s surface. In this photo, which includes all humans (who aren’t either named Michael Collins or where born after the snapshot) is a sense of unity, for it shows how the national, ethinic, economical, educational or other differences human’s have invented to divide ourselves really don’t exist on the grand scheme of things.

I hope that remembering the Apollo 11 moon landing serves as a reminder of what is possible with faith, persistence, hard work and consideration for other’s perspectives. I highly doubt the thousands of engineers, scientists, and technicians who were involved with making Project Apollo possible would have been successful at their astronomical task had they allowed differences and squabbles impede them in their accomplishment of the ultimate goal. Earth is one planet, and the human species is also one. I think that the moon landing which occurred on this very day 45 years ago truly represents that we ‘came in peace for all mankind’.