When Apollo made our giant leap -- forty years ago [update 3]
When man first shook off earth’s pull and planted a flag on the moon – the object of centuries’ impossible dreams – it was marked, famously, by Neil Armstrong’s “small step for (a) man, a giant leap for mankind.” It was, said Ayn Rand, an unabashed symbol of man’s greatness.
What [Apollo revealed], in naked essentials—but in reality, not in a work of art—was the concretized abstraction of man's greatness. . . The fundamental significance of Apollo 11’s triumph is not political; it is philosophical. . . Frustration is the leitmotif in the lives of most men, particularly today—the frustration of inarticulate desires, with no knowledge of the means to achieve them. In the sight and hearing of a crumbling world, Apollo 11 enacted the story of an audacious purpose, its execution, its triumph, and the means that achieved it—the story and the demonstration of man’s highest potential.
Hard to believe it was all forty years ago this week! The New York Times marks the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon with “an in-depth look at the historic journey.”
Check out photos taken by the astronauts in space and pictures of the spectators at the launch. Read about the awe-inspiring days of the space race and examine its cultural impact. Tell your story of the moon landing and share family photos that were taken during those eight days in July 1969:
And Popular Mechanics magazine has outdone themselves with “dovetailed interviews” of all involved in the Apollo 11 moon landing. [Hat tip to the Tizona Group Blog, which also has extensive coverage of the event by The Onion – a must-see!]
- Part 1: Launch Day.
- Part 2: To the Moon.
- Part 3: Landing Day.
- Part 4: Lunar Exploration.
- Part 5: The Trip Home.
- Part 6: Re-entry and Splashdown.
We can celebrate the achievement, but still deplore the taxpayer funding -- and the government involvement. (Where is D.D. Harriman when you need him, i.e., The Man Who Sold the Moon?) Both Daily Pundit and Samizdata however hold out hope that the government-run monopoly on space travel/exploration is doomed. “Maybe not as fast as we would like, but eventually. . . And that is a good thing.”
Sure is. “It has often been said, even by vocal proponents of free enterprise who claim to hate government subsidies, that while private citizens are good at settling or homesteading, the government is good at exploring. They argue that we have always needed the government to do the exploring, to pave the way for the private settlers. [Ron Pisaturo’s reply is]: Recognize private property for exploring, and you will see that private citizens make better explorers than do government employees.”
UPDATE 1: Brad Taylor’s Blog has pictures of the SpaceX Falcon 1 launching a commercial satellite without coercive taxation. Way to go!
UPDATE 2: He’s a busy lad. Brad also has a piece on the future of space, and it’s SpaceSteading -- “transforming space from a government-owned bureaucratic program into a dynamic and inclusive frontier open to people.” Proponents are determined, they say, “to convert the image held by many young people that the future will be worse than the present, and we reject the idea that the world’s greatest moments are in its past.”
UPDATE 3: And I’ve just received this note which I’ve yet to check out, so take it for what it’s worth. Apparently, so I’m told, the only official NASA documentary film capturing the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 Moonwalk One has been restored, “ delivering the most incredible HD quality and 5.1 sound mix version allowing Theo Kamecke the original director to create his long awaited Moonwalk One – The Director’s Cut.” My emailer tells me that “All broadcasters across the globe have been given permission to download and broadcast the files from this web browser file transfer site: http://188.8.131.52:8080/1247758725484,” and also that Moonwalk One – The Director’s Cut is “exclusively” on sale from moonwalkone.com. If you try the links, let me know how you get on.