Today is the anniversary of the 1969 manned lunar landing by Apollo 11 – Michael Collins remained on the command module while Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed the Eagle on the Sea of Tranquility on the lunar surface, and Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the lunar surface. For the next 20+ hours Armstrong and Aldrin remained on the surface collecting samples to bring back home. Through the hard work and dedication of many people at NASA, and at other agencies; through the miracle of technology – computers, modems, radio transmissions, and data communications –  those of us old enough to understand heard, and saw, a truly impressive feat. A defining moment for a generation gifted (and cursed) with many defining moments. For me, and for many of my peers, it nurtured a love of cosmology, a desire to take to the stars, an awe at what technology could accomplish. 49 years ago today, we witnessed something truly awesome.  Three days later, in a televised communication from the astronauts prior to their return to earth, Buzz Aldrin remarked “This has been far more than three men on a mission to the Moon; more, still, than the efforts of a government and industry team; more, even, than the efforts of one nation. We feel that this stands as a symbol of the insatiable curiosity of all mankind to explore the unknown”


“When you organize extraordinary missions, you attract people of extraordinary talent who might not have been inspired by or attracted to the goal of saving the world from cancer or hunger or pestilence.”  — Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Photo courtesy of NASA’s Image of the Day  –