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Friday, July 19, 2019

Fifty Years Ago: Apollo 11

(For politics, please scroll down)

[source]

What we today in the 21st Century commemorate with a yawn was not taken for granted in 1969.

From The speech Richard Nixon would have given ‘in event of moon disaster’: The White House prepared remarks in case the Apollo 11 astronauts couldn’t return to Earth (Washington Post, July 12, 2019):
To: H. R. Haldeman
From: Bill Safire
July 18, 1969

IN EVENT OF MOON DISASTER:

Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to lead as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man's search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.

14 comments:

  1. There's nothing better than being fully prepared for every possible contingency, I suppose, but the level of pure, unemotional, –– almost cynically detached ––, caculation in this letter from the Nixon administration is a bit chilling.

    And the spectre of the CHALLENGER disaster that took lce seventeen uears later in 1986 still looms large over the Space Program. I still wonder what happened to Christa Corrigan McAuliffe's husband and children since that tragic event 33 years ago. –– and the six dead crewmen whose names have been forgotten?

    I believed then, and believe still that unless and until we can learn and adhere to the basic principles laid out in the Bible telling us how to be GOOD human beings, we will only bring the same self-defeating behavior into uter Space an Beyond.

    I mean IF we manage to fulfill what-too-many-today-want-to claim-as our New Manifest Destiny –– that of destoying Mother Earth and making her uninhabitable, because we failed to get along with one another ––, what possible good could come from transporting our benighted, failed species to Parts Unknown?

    ALL we'd do would be to REPEAT the RUINATION we'd brought upon ourselves here at home.

    After all, as Doctor Seuss famously sid, "NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO, THERE yOU ARE!

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    1. Thank you, AOW. I'm glad the McAuliffe family was able to carry on and make an apparent sucess of their lives, although I'd like to now much more about the McAuliffe children and how they recovered from such a terrible blow.

      Something to research in the future. I do remember that practicaly nothing was said at the time –– and for many years afterward –– about Christa McAuliffe's husband and children –– evidence of tact, and sensitivity that no longer exists today, I fear.

      Interesting to learn that Stephen McCauliffe eventually was appointed to the Federal Bench by George H.W. Bush!

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  2. I'd like to try once again to elicit an answer or answers to the much LARGER questions I tried to raise about the advisability of further Space Exploration , so [lease try to pardon me, if I seem a bit repetitious:


    I find the whole issue of Space Exporation fascinating, but more than a bit a bit chilling.

    The spectre of the CHALLENGER disaster that took place in 1986 –– seventeen seventeen uears lafter we successfully landed on and returned from the Moon –– still looms large over the Space Program . . .

    I believed then, –– and believe still –– that unless and until we can learn from and adhere to the basic principles laid out in the Bible telling us how to be GOOD human beings, we will only bring the same vain, selfish, self-defeating behavior into Outer Space and Beyond.

    I mean IF we manage to fulfill what-too-many-today-want-to claim-as our New Manifest Destiny –– that of destoying Mother Earth and making her uninhabitable, because we failed to get along with one another ––, what possible good could come from transporting our benighted, failed species to Parts Unknown?

    ALL we'd do would be to REPEAT the RUINATION we'd brought upon ourselves here at home.

    After all, as Doctor Seuss famously sid, "NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO, THERE yOU ARE!

    Science and Technology give clear evidence evidence of our incredibe brilliance –– always at finding New, Different, Exciting snd ever more Complex Ways to AVOID dealing with the FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM of CONQUERING our deeply flawed HUMAN NATURE.

    We keep on and on making the same stupid mistakes over and over, because we desperately want to believe there is a CURE for everything that ails us that may yet be found OUTSIDE of OURSELVES, when conquering SELF should have been our main objecive all along.

    "SCIENCE" cannot save us. Only JESUS could, and more than two-thousand years after His Birth we STILL choose to CRUCIFY Him every day in a thousand ways, because it's SO difficult for most of us to ACCEPT the RESPONSIBILITY we have to FACE OURSELVES and spend the bulk of ur energy attempting to, as Kierkegaard said, "work out our own Salvation with fear and trembling."

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    1. Franco,
      unless and until we can learn from and adhere to the basic principles laid out in the Bible telling us how to be GOOD human beings, we will only bring the same vain, selfish, self-defeating behavior into Outer Space and Beyond....ALL we'd do would be to REPEAT the RUINATION we'd brought upon ourselves here at home.

      Agreed.

      But I must say that I also believe that humanity as a whole will not learn the wisdom you have elucidated above. Jesus himself stated more than once that His flock was few in number.

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    2. THAT is exactly my POINT, AOW. Why should we spend untold amounts of wealth on trying to extend the TOXIC POLLUTION tha is the Human Condition to Other Worlds in Outer Space?

      Better that each of us should tend his own garden, and make it grow than to reach for the moon.

      Even if we should succeed in colonizing Mars or Venus, the quality of life THERE wouldn't be any better than it is HERE –– IF as GOOD.

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    3. I sure am glad Lewis and Clark didn't feel the same way... Or Seward and Alaska for starters.

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  3. There are some 4 billion people on this planet, a bit more than 300 million in this nation. Some of them, many perhaps, are evil. Some of them, perhaps only a few, are saints. It is not possible to say that mankind as a whole is evil and is destroying the planet, and that therefor a few hundred should not involve themselves in the exploration of space.

    I do not know those people who are working in the space exploration program. I do not know if they are good or evil. I do not know if their purpose is to spread death and destruction to other planets, but I doubt very much that it is. I do know that the quest for adventure is not, in and of itself, evil.

    I do not for one minute believe that the evil done by one person, or by one group of persons, is valid reason to impose punishment or limit action of persons who cannot be shown to be participating in that evil.

    The "human condition" is not "toxic pollution" because of the actions of a portion of humanity.

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    1. Jayhawk,
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment, which certainly does have merit. This part especially caused me to nod my head in agreement:

      I do not for one minute believe that the evil done by one person, or by one group of persons, is valid reason to impose punishment or limit action of persons who cannot be shown to be participating in that evil.

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  4. If anyone would have a concept of all the things that could have gone wrong during Apollo 11, it was these guys. As Navy pilots they must have seen countless numbers of screw ups and I can't believe they felt they had a better than 50/50 chance of getting there let alone getting back but did it anyway. Not many of these kinds of people around.

    Unfortunately.

    But Good God, think of the millions of variables. Mind blowing. Apollo 13 ran into one of the ones that didn't go as planned.

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  5. Triple design redundancy. Let's see if the private sector can now maintain the standard. The Boeing 737Max was the result of a slipping of aviation's double redundancy standard.

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