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One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind

On July 20th, 1969, American Astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped down from the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, and stepped onto the surface of the moon. It was indeed one small step for man, but it was a giant leap for mankind that would change the way we saw the Universe and our place in the Cosmos.  Suddenly, we were not confined to our planet Earth.  Until that moment, exploring the moon was only a fantasy, the stuff of science-fiction. The Apollo 11 mission to land a man on the moon and deliver him safely back to Earth, opened a door to new and amazing possibilities.  Suddenly, the idea of exploring space became a reality.

 

I was  4 years old when Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins made their historic journey  to the moon. And while I was too young to grasp the significance of this great event, I can still remember the excitement from the people around me as they celebrated one of the most amazing and technically advanced events in human history.  It would be a few years later before I understood the significance of this amazing event, but I was fascinated non the less. Mankind’s ultimate journey, to explore the final frontier, had begun.

 

Buzz Aldrin,  July 20, 1969

Buzz Aldrin, July 20, 1969

Our mission to walk on the moon took almost ten years to complete, and centuries to realize.  In the end, it was indeed “one small step for man”, but it began our greatest journey and one of the biggest leaps for Mankind of our time.  Not only did the success of the Apollo 11 mission launch us into the greatest journey of our human history, it showed us that we are all one species on one planet in a vast cosmos of space. The Apollo 11 mission showed us that when we work together and put our minds together on the task, there is very little that humans cannot accomplish.

 

Earth rises into view as the Command Module comes around the dark side of the moon.

Earth rises into view as the Command Module comes around the dark side of the moon.

From this perspective of Earth, it is hard to imaging the  world we live in; countries run by governments constantly on the verge of war with it’s neighbors,  greed and destruction of precious limited resources in the name of personal profit, and the very existence of life on this small blue planet hanging by a thread against the threat of total nuclear  destruction, or the damage to our precious environment and accumulations of greenhouse gases.  From here, Earth looks small, but inviting and peaceful.

 

 Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin. The Apollo 11 Astronauts

Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin. The Apollo 11 Astronauts

It is because of pioneers like  the Apollo 11 crew, and all the astronauts, scientists, physicists and explores that came before and after the Apollo 11 crew, that the future of mankind has hope. Space exploration has showed us that life is as precious as space is wondrous.  It is hard to imagine that the technology that launched humans into a new era of space exploration was first used for destruction and war.  But if we can take something so destructive and make it benefit all mankind, and all life on Earth, I think it gives us hope that we can overcome our short-comings and our fears, and we can rise together as one world and accomplish great things.

 

Neil Armstrong's footprint on the moon

Neil Armstrong’s footprint on the moon

We are a curious and adventurous species, and I think that is one of our greatest strengths. We are also a young species, still dealing  with old historical traits of violence and ignorance.  We may still have a chance to survive and evolve into a species of science and technological advancement.  But it will require that we are willing to change our old ways of thinking,  to come together for the common good of the Earth and the life it supports. If we can do that, we may yet see another day when man takes another small step for mankind on another world.

 

We came in Peace for all Mankind

We came in Peace for all Mankind

 

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