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Monday, 20 July 2015

One small step…


Wikipedia commons
 
Forty-six years ago today, the first man stepped on the moon. At the time I was serving on HMS Zulu and we were berthed in Bahrein 21-29 July. It was a momentous event for most of us.

Neil Armstrong became the first to step onto the lunar surface six hours after the landing, on July 21. Broadcast on live TV to a world-wide audience, Armstrong said, ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’

He spent about two and a half hours outside the spacecraft, Aldrin who followed spent slightly less, and together they collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material for return to Earth. Expensive rock samples – and yet in their way paradoxically priceless. It seemed as though a new space age had dawned, though of course that isn’t what happened, because of political, economic and safety reasons. Yet mankind’s future is among the stars perhaps after we’ve attained ‘world peace’ – as envisaged by Gene Roddenberry.

And I wonder how the fiftieth anniversary will be marked.

My take on Armstrong’s quotation can be found in this previously published sci-fi short story, 'A Gigantic Leap':


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