Reflecting on Apollo 11

July 16, 1969 is a day that will be forever burned into the memories of not just the American people, but the entire world as a whole. The Apollo 11 mission was the culmination of a declaration by President John F, Kennedy who stated, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated before he could see the realization of his speech at Rice Stadium come to fruition. Apollo 11 explained the reasons why we had to go to space. The astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins blasted off into space headed for the moon, no one knew for sure how their mission would turn out. There were so many unknown variables about the effect of space travel that were a mystery at that time. Who knows what would have become of our space exploration future, if they had not succeeded. I know that seeing this inspirational moment made people think of space in a whole new way.

They landed on the Moon people were able to see the pictures of a place baron and desert-like with craters everywhere. Neil Armstrong tested the gravity by holding on to the ladder before venturing all the way out from the space capsule to do his now-famous spacewalk. Buzz Aldrin soon followed as the second man to walk on the moon. Michael Collins stated in the documentary Casing The Moon that Neil Armstrong did not have a prepared speech for when they landed. It was only after the press asked him before the launch what was he going to say to the world when they landed on the moon. Neil Armstrong stated, “I’ll know when I get there.”

There are so many things that people did not know at that time like that the astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin”Buzz” Aldrin spent over 21 hours and 36 minutes on the Moon’s surface. Once they landed they were instant stars and celebrated all over the world not just in America. What some people may not know is that they were not welcome on a lot of college campuses in America. Chasing The Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission documentary highlights the unfortunate fact that it was not unusual for the astronauts to be booed, heckled or to have eggs thrown at them while trying to speak on college campuses. Michael Collins believed that the younger people saw them as part of the Nixon establishment. The anti-war people were raising their voices about Vietnam and their opposition to it. I think it was just a different time then and people were caught in all of the emotions that came with the war in Vietnam.

NBC created a beautiful short video summarizing the Apollo 11 mission.

Video found on Youtube.com

Apollo 11 to me personally means that I could dream of traveling to space as a tourist like Dennis Tito did in 2001. I feel there would never have been an International Space Station. I also feel that we would have never even dared to have thought about traveling to Mars or colonizing it. There would not be billionaires like Elon Musk, Richard Branson and whoever else is joining up to offer tours to the Earth’s lower orbit. Space X has launched and landed the first reusable Falcon rocket for future space missions to send supplies to the International Space Station. I think that all of these new space innovations were born from the work and the laid foundation of German engineers and American engineers working together for a common cause at NASA. I am one grateful sky watcher and I one day hope to be able to afford to go into space on one of the tours. In the next few years, we are going to see a whole new industry that will compete with the airline industry. The long flights could soon be a thing of the past.