Having just turned forty, I tend to mark my life in terms of distance from events of the summer of 1969. And forty years ago today the first human beings stepped upon the Moon: the only place apart from our own home-world where we have set foot.
I was very young when humanity reached the Moon, and about as old as possible to know nothing else. The Moon landing seems to be more of a human achievement than a national one; at least, this is how I was brought up seeing it. The endeavor also highlighted the possible nobility of science and engineering — keeping with the theme of the Cold War — which is remarkably endearing in these days when so many putatively responsible and intelligent people can be so pig-headed in scientific matters.
And then there’s the Apollo 8 photograph — from 1968, not Apollo 11 which we recall today — showing the Earth rise over the lunar horizon. In it, the idea of corporate humanity (key to Universalist Christianity, for what it’s worth) and a common environment was imprinted on a generation or more.
A good day; one worth celebrating.