Sunday, July 19, 2009

24 hours before the 40th anniversary of man's first steps on another world

Here's the list, straight from Wikipedia of the only men to walk on the Moon:

Name Mission EVA dates
1 Neil Armstrong Apollo 11 July 20, 1969
2 Buzz Aldrin
3 Pete Conrad Apollo 12 November 19-20, 1969
4 Alan Bean
5 Alan Shepard Apollo 14 February 5-6, 1971
6 Edgar Mitchell
7 David Scott Apollo 15 July 31–August 2, 1971
8 James Irwin
9 John W. Young Apollo 16 April 21-23, 1972
10 Charles Duke
11 Eugene Cernan Apollo 17 December 11-14, 1972
12 Harrison Schmitt

Since December 14, 1972 -- nearly 37 years ago -- no man or woman from any nation has set foot on the Lunar surface. In fact, no one has left low Earth orbit in that time.

We've accomplished much in the last 40 years: We have personal computers far more sophisticated than the computers available to our lunar astronauts. We have HDTV and blogs and and Facebook and Tweeter and energy drinks. We have microwave ovens. We have an African-American in the White House. We've had two women, and will soon have a third, on the U.S. Supreme Court.

But in this singularly important regard, we've accomplished nothing.

Not a particularly happy anniversary so far as I'm concerned.

If you've read this far, you may also be interested in this essay, Space: Is the final frontier all it used to be? by AP Writer Ted Anthony. An excerpt:
"At the frontier, the bonds of custom are broken, and unrestraint is triumphant." So said Frederick Jackson Turner, the 19th-century historian whose ideas showed Americans how important their frontier experience was to them.

"I wanted to be a spaceman — that's what I wanted to be. But now that I am a spaceman, nobody cares about me." So sang Harry Nilsson, the musician who in 1972 channeled the changing feelings about space exploration in this country.

Today, somewhere between those two absurdly different ideas, sits America's attitude about space.
America needs its attitude toward space exploration adjusted -- or it will be left in the dustbin of history by more vigorous Asian cultures.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

but we do have change and all... just sayin'.

smiles, bee

Dave said...


Jean-Luc Picard said...

I agree. We were going so well, then it stopped.