Monday, July 20, 2009

40 years ago

Forty years ago today, a man-made spaceship landed on the moon. Two men, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, made history as they took their first bouncing steps in a strange new gravity field, as people on Earth watched in awe.

Since it was nine and a half years before I was born, I did not experience it first-hand. But with the help of new technology and enhanced footage, everyone can now watch that first moonlanding over and over in better quality than anyone back then could have dreamed of.

Outer space has always been fascinating to me. What is even more fascinating is the lack of information being given out to the general public on other space adventures. We hear reports every once in a while of a shuttle launch that was delayed because of thunderstorms in Florida, or repairs made to the International Space Station, but what's been going on at the moon? If I didn't know better, I'd say nobody's been back there since 1969.

But I know that's not true. Twelve people have walked across the terrain of the moon. Looking up the dates, however, I see that the most recent manned landing was in 1972. Perhaps the scientists felt they had enough data to draw a complete picture of the moon from those trips and nobody had to go back there. Or perhaps the trips were so expensive that money is better spent elsewhere.

All recent missions - by the Chinese and Russian governments as well - seem to have been to the moons of other planets and to various space stations launched into the vast emptiness surrounding us. But I still find it strange that we never hear a lot about what's going on. Unless there's a crash or failure of some sort, the various space missions seem to go by unnoticed.

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