Today, July 20 marks anniversaries of two cosmic milestones. The 40th anniversary of Viking 1’s historic first landing on Mars, 47 years to the day since Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed Apollo 11 on the Moon. Apollo 11 served the Sea of Tranquility to wide eyed witnesses of science eclipsing fiction. In my life nothing technology has to offer comes close to emotions evoked by the dawn of space exploration. I consider every modern marvel a product of humanity’s quest to unravel our universe.
The world watched on television as Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969. It was the first time humans walked another world. As he stepped onto the lunar surface, Armstrong said, “That is one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
View full image. | First photograph ever taken from Mars’ surface, by Viking 1 shortly after it landed on July 20, 1976. One of the lander’s footpads is seen at the lower right. Image via NASA.
For the next three and a half minutes ponder The Most Astounding Fact by Neil deGrasse Tyson –
Forty six years ago today, Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. Their tiny lunar module rested on ancient lava flows in the Sea of Tranquility. Six hours later Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on another world. Grainy images held a breathless world captive, witness to science eclipsing fiction.
I was 9 years old. Nine years dreamily gazing at the stars, imagining possibilities and asking “what if”. That day is indelible, a moment in time responsible for cementing a sense of optimistic wonder. Effortless recollection finds me on the living room carpet. straining to comprehend barely discernible images, rivets of audio punctuation bouncing off the walls.
July 20, 1969 opened a portal to the cosmos.