50 Years Ago

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

It’s hard to imagine that it’s been fifty years since those words were uttered.  Yesterday, five decades ago, the Apollo 11 rocket was launched, carrying the first men to ever land on the moon.

Fifty years…over half a lifetime for most people.  And yet, compared to the deep time of the universe, it is insignificant…a mere speck of time.  Less than a cosmic blink.

In the face of such a stark reality, why then does it matter what we did half a century ago?  All of our achievements will eventually be dust and ruins.  Why bother?

It’s all about perspective.  And from the perspective of a being descended from ancient primates, it’s pretty damn impressive that we managed to break gravity’s hold and make our way out into the great, unknown expanse of blackness.

And space travel is still important today.  Many of the things we enjoy or the advancements we have made in technology are owed to work on space exploration.

Here is just a small sampling of things that came from NASA:

  • Artificial limbs
  • Memory foam
  • Cordless vacuum cleaners
  • Freeze Drying
  • Scratch-resistant lenses
  • LASIK eye surgery
  • Water purification

The list could go on.  So many things we have in modern times came about because someone at NASA had to solve a problem for the astronauts up in space.  It can be difficult to comprehend just how much easier and convenient our lives have become simply because of NASA and space exploration.

 

Astronaut

 

It’s easy to forget that with all the political drama going on these days.  But it’s something we really should remember.  Because, if anything, landing on the moon taught us that reaching for the stars isn’t impossible.  Determination, hard work, and diligence will win the day, whether your dream is to fly to the moon or to simply finish a project: be that a painting, book, computer program, or something else.  You fail only if you stop trying.

A lot of humanity’s achievements came about simply because someone said to themselves “hey, I wonder if we could do that”.  And then they did.