One thousand years from now, America’s Apollo-era astronauts will still stand alone in history as the greatest and bravest explorers in human history. The level of intelligence, engineering, skill, and courage it took put a man on the moon in 1969 — just a little more than 11 years after the United States sent its first puny satellite in orbit — is unparalleled.
It’s now an old saw that NASA pulled of that amazing feat with less computing power and connectivity than it takes to play Words with Friends on your iPhone. But that reference might not be a good enough to analogize this accomplishment.
Let’s try this: We figured out how to build a marginally sea-worthy wooden boat on Monday … and set off to circumnavigate the world on Thursday. And we got back the following week. With no one dying. Humans will go to Mars one day, and they will be standing on the shoulders of the Apollo program. They will get to Mars on an aircraft carrier with a century of engineering know-how built in. Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins went to the moon on a dinghy with just a decade of know-how … and a ton of guts. May future explorers always be rightly in awe.
Dave at Ace of Spades gives a good, brief rundown explaining why Neil Armstrong was the perfect, indispensable man for such a risky mission — the perfect, highly skilled, and brave package to delver to to the moon on behalf of humanity. Here is the video of the greatest achievement in human history:
NOTE: Many staffers at The Heartland Institute are quite enthusiastic about the space program, and specifically the Apollo missions. Harrison Schmitt — who flew on Apollo 17 and was the last man, and first scientist, to set foot on the moon — is part of the Heartland family and a contributor to this blog.
RIP, Neil Armstrong. Godspeed.