Monday, 20 July 2009


On 20 July 1969, Mission Commander Neil Armstrong & Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. As the lunar module touched down on the moon, Aldrin declared "Houston, Tranquility Base, here. The Eagle has landed." At 10:56 pm Armstrong began his descent to the moon's surface. He stepped off the Eagle and onto the moon, the first human ever to walk on another planet. His words still resonate today: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." The event was broadcast back to Earth; at least 600 million people watched live, as Armstrong & Aldrin walked on the moon. Walter Cronkite, who passed away 2 days ago, anchored the CBS news desk and exclaimed "Oh boy!"

Forty years later, it's been suggested that NASA was too concerned with collecting rocks and not enough with the bigger picture. Tom Wolfe, the author of The Right Stuff, writing in The New York Times, complained that "NASA...neglected to recruit a corps of philosophers." But in looking for the meaning of the bigger picture, we sometimes forget to look at the pictures themselves. The images snapped by Neil Armstrong have lost none of their power. They are thrilling and, literally, wonderful. Armstrong and Aldrin left behind a plaque that stated "We came in peace for all mankind," and took away the pictures that are a lasting testament to one of our greatest achievements, our finest hours.