45 Years ago today we landed on the Moon for the very first time. The Apollo 11 team of Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin took the first “Giant Leap for Mankind” (humankind) putting the first steps of humanity on a world beyond our own; a world characterized in the words of Buzz Aldrin by “Magnificent Desolation.”
There has been a lot of buzz (pun intended) about the 45th anniversary from screenings of the original landing to renewed debates about the moon landing hoax to an AMA by Buzz Aldrin on Reddit which you should check out. There has also been questions about why we have yet to return.
That is a good question. At the same time, we need to remember that since the late 60’s we have learned an incredible deal about space as we currently find ourselves in a Golden Age of Astronomy. We launched the Voyager Probes in the late 70’s which have just recently reached the edge of our solar system and crossed into inter-stellar space. The 80’s saw the dawn of the space shuttle program leaving the legacies of the International Space Station and Hubble Space Telescope. We got MIND BLOWING images in the 90’s from the Sojourner probe, part of the Mars Pathfinder Program when the Internet was first becoming ubiquitous. As a kid growing up in the 90’s where you could actually download images from Mars…amazing. I believe we actually crashed the NASA servers. We have since returned to Mars recently with Curiosity.
So We did it!
We left the Sol System and have officially now placed a human-made object into interstellar space.
Two mind blowing things about this.
First, that we actually got something out that far that survived this long and that we are still in contact with!
Secondly, it took 36 years! Just to get to the edge of the solar system. I did some quick math, to reach the NEXT CLOSEST STAR (remembering that our Galaxy alone has about 400 Billion worth) would take Voyager another 73,000 years. The galaxy is enormous! And we are one of billions of galaxies! Mind = Blown
You can check out more about our breaching of the solar system threshold at National Geographic here
Despite how far we have yet to go, this is a monumental achievement decades in the making; the first of what I hope are more giant leaps that lead us from not only colonizing our own solar system, but to perhaps truly one day reach the stars.
BTW, on the theme of Voyager, there is a great Voyager probe game out there for IOS called Voyager:Grand Tour that will kill hours of your spare time that I highly recommend you check out.