07.20.1969 – 20:17
“Houston, Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed.”
“Roger, Tranquility. We copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.”
God how I wish I’d been alive for that moment. Even more though, I wish that I didn’t care so much about that moment because I believed it was only the first of many feats of engineering, science, manufacturing, administration, and political will. Instead I am possessed by the fear that is may be the last and greatest of such feats.
Not to say there have been no great feats, only that there have been none so ambitious.
I shouldn’t be naive though. I realize the motivations for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs were based in fear of being dominated. And I realize that even at the time the interest for manned space exploration fell off sharply after the historic achievement of Apollo 11. The will to finance war and destruction outpaced the will to finance human advancement even at the peak of that advancement.
Apollo provided the incentive to develop and hone many of the technologies we depend on today, even many military technologies. But somehow we cannot justify the expense of such ambitious programs.
So the Eagle landed, the entire human race looked up and saw human beings had lifted themselves into the sky, survived the vast and deadly void, and occupied and claimed a hostile world with apparent ease.
Were we challenging God? No more than an ant on a tabletop challenges mankind. We reached out to show our gratitude and new humility at the eternal greatness of creation. For a moment we offered our greatest minds, our bravest spirits and most able bodies in thanks to creation. So that we might better know the will of God. God means many things to many people, but to know and serve the will of God is the basis for all who believe. Whatever you believe, the universe is there, it is, it was, and it will be, and however it got there, we have been blessed with the gifts honor creation in a way unlike any other creature we know. We reach.
Whether by creator or by chance, we were placed in a universe that only respects survival. If we are to show gratitude for our creation, we must take every action to preserve and extend the survival of the compassion, intelligence, and greatness of the human spirit.
So let’s crank up the funding for new propulsion, life support, and in situ resource utilization, warm up the Saturn V’s while we’re waiting, and get sapient.
Also let’s just take 2/3 of the military budget and funnel that straight into education. I promise, Mexico and Canada aren’t going to attack and the Atlantic and Pacific make great neighbors.
As for terrorists- it’s not easy but I have a plan.
1) stop killing people. the less people you kill the fewer want to kill you for killing their family and friends.
2) apologize for the people you did kill, and make sure the countries you killed people in have shit load of jobs and educational resources available to keep people from thinking about all that killing you did.
3) if you absolutely cannot stop yourself from killing people, go to North Korea, or Wall Street. be selective though.
“There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”