On July 20, 1969, the world gathered round their really old television sets and watched two men step onto the moon. A moment that would inspire many children, their faces close to the television set and many who were born after. While we should take a moment to be sad that Neil Armstrong is not with us to celebrate in this moment, we can take heart in the fact that Buzz Aldrin is and is tweeting (also on facebook) about it.
On this historic day, we can listen to Buzz Aldrin about his experiences on the moon. (You can also read his story about taking communion on the moon here.) Lets take a moment and consider his ultimate goal, the message of: get your ass to Mars.
And let us not forget Michael Collins, who is also still with us. (I did, but Ghost in the Machine reminded me. Thank you!) Though he did not land on the Moon he was an important part of the mission. For the 40th anniversary he answered some questions, here is a log of that. He uses his book, Carrying the Fire, to answer a lot of it.
A selected few quotes:
Q. Circling the lonely moon by yourself, the loneliest person in the universe, weren’t you lonely?
“Far from feeling lonely or abandoned, I feel very much a part of what is taking place on the lunar surface. I know that I would be a liar or a fool if I said that I have the best of the three Apollo 11 seats, but I can say with truth and equanimity that I am perfectly satisfied with the one I have. This venture has been structured for three men, and I consider my third to be as necessary as either of the other two. I don’t mean to deny a feeling of solitude. It is there, reinforced by the fact that radio contact with the Earth abruptly cuts off at the instant I disappear behind the moon, I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life. I am it. If a count were taken, the score would be three billion plus two over on the other side of the moon, and one plus God knows what on this side.”
Q. That was 40 years ago. Would it look the same today?
A. Yes, from the moon, but appearances can be deceiving. It’s certainly not serene, but definitely fragile, and growing more so. When we flew to the moon, our population was 3 billion; today it has more than doubled and is headed for 8 billion, the experts say. I do not think this growth is sustainable or healthy. The loss of habitat, the trashing of oceans, the accumulation of waste products - this is no way to treat a planet.
Q. Do you feel you’ve gotten enough recognition for your accomplishments?
A. Lordy, yes, Oodles and oodles.
Q. Oodles?? But don’t you have any keen insights?
A. Oh yeah, a whole bunch, but I’m saving them for the 50th.
Launch picture from NASA Apollo 11 image gallery.
Likely more tweets from Buzz on his twitter account.
A big thank you to Ghost In The Machine, because I was wrong to forget Michael Collins. THANK YOU.