Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Apollo 11 Moon Landing Anniversary
42 years ago today on July 20, 1969 the United States and NASA fulfilled President Kennedy's goal by landing astronauts Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin and Neil Armstrong on the moon in the Eagle landing craft while Michael Collins orbited the moon in Columbia.
Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the lunar surface, spent 21 hours and 31 minutes on the Moon, collected 47.5 pounds (21.5 kg) of moon rocks before they blasted off its surface to rejoin Collins and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on July 24.
But this anniversary of the crowning achievement of the Apollo program is tempered by the bittersweet arrival in a few hours of the space shuttle Atlantis from its final mission to the ISS to cap the Space Shuttle program
So as the space shuttle touches down for the last time at KSC it's causing space junkies like myself to ask what's next for the US space program as we shift our sights away from low earth orbit missions and hand that responsibility to the private sector.
I believe the United States and NASA needs to be doing everything possible to expand our knowledge and technological capabilities in terms of executing space missions to and the eventual colonization of Mars, colonizing the Moon, and solve the challenges and problems of long duration space flights.
It will be necessary to do so not only just to explore our celestial neighborhood but nearby stars and emerging discovered planets as well.
The United States for its future educational and economic well being definitely needs to continue on the path started by President Kennedy and NASA as a spacefaring nation. We must be part of any international space exploration efforts or projects like the International Space Station.
If we want the human race to survive and thrive as a species even with all its flaws we gripe about at times, we must explore the final frontier.