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':