Monday, 20 July 2009

Moon landing +40

It was early evening in the crowded Ladner pub in British Columbia when Neil Armstrong took that historic first step on the moon 40 years ago today.

The overhead television set was on, but few people looked up from their beers to view history in the making.

It was an historic event so this Ladner Optimist news guy walked behind the bar, picked up the microphone and shouted something like "they're walking on the moon" a couple of times.

More people did look up at the black and white television set, but most soon resumed their beer drinking and conversations.

The Russians had been first with a man in space less than a decade earlier, but a man on the moon was one of those indelible "firsts."

Forty years later, we have space shuttles and an elaborate international space station, but not the degree of advances in space exploration anticipated after viewing 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time in 1968.

Captain Alan Bean, the fourth person to walk on the moon, says the U.S. should forget about returning to the moon and concentrate on an international manned Mars mission. Ditto for Buzz Aldrin.

We second that emotion. That would be the ultimate milestone in the lifetimes of baby boomers.

As for moon landing doubters, Mike Strobel's Sunday Sun column took care of them.

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