10 Reasons Why Apollo 11 Moon Landing Was Awesome
By Curtis Silver July 21, 2009
Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Forty years ago mission commander Neil A. Armstrong and lunar module pilot Edwin Eugene ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, Jr. walked on the moon while command module pilot Michael Collins orbited above. Today however, marks the 40th anniversary of the day people really reacted to what just happened. As with all major events in time, there is always a day of reflection. I’d like to honor that day of reflection with my top 10 thoughts about the Apollo 11 moon landing.
It was a comeback victory in the space race against the Soviets
I’d even say, we made the Soviets look like chumps. We won the space race by putting a man on the moon. Sure, the Soviets were there first, having bounced their Luna 2 spacecraft off the moon 10 years earlier, but we left our footprints there. The Cold War may have lasted another 15 years or so after that, but it gave us the confidence to make movies like Red Dawn. It also showed the world what could be achieved by democracy over communism. From my father, who was in the Navy at the time:
I was at sea when the landing occurred; I didn’t even know about it until we hit our next port of call, which was Barcelona. I can tell you that the Spanish people were very excited about the landing; they mostly thought it was a wonderful occurrence and congratulated us sailors for the event. They also thought we must be very proud to have beaten the Russians to the moon. At the time, Spain was under the control of the fascist dictatorship government of Francisco Franco.
Gave the conspiracy theorists something to talk about for the next century
Even though anyone with a high-powered telescope and laser system (don’t you have one?) can see the reflections off the equipment left on the moon, the conspiracy theorists still think the whole thing was staged, on the basis that we haven’t gone back. If we should have faked anything in the late ’60s, it should have been Vietnam.
It felt great to be an American
The ’60s were a tumultuous time in American history. Civil rights, Vietnam, Kennedy and the Cold War — all made for a stressful time and American values were put to the test. But when we landed on the moon, everyone in America put all that aside, if only for a couple days. As stated by my cousin KV:
I was at a Little League party, watching the moon landing after our last game of the season. There was a 7 Eleven across the street, so the mom got all of us Coke slurpees, which had just been invented recently. I sat there watching Neil Armstrong take the first steps on the moon while I took a taste of my first Coke slurpee. I remember thinking how great it is to be American.
Made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin legends in their own time
That’s hard to achieve these day, with nothing happening as spectacular as walking on the moon. When you think space you think of Armstrong and Aldrin. When you look up at the moon you think about those images, no matter how old or young you are. Those images of them walking on the moon are an iconic piece of American history that every child will remember until the day when we’re all enslaved in the Matrix.
Proved that the moon was not made of cheese
There were a lot of excited scientists when we landed on the moon — they knew that it would lead to research projects and glorious spoonfuls of moon rocks. Since then, experiments in space and on objects from space — especially moon items, have been at the forefront of our exploration. After beating the Soviets (since that was the driving force for going there in the first place) the science has taken over and a lot has been discovered about our moon, science that is still relevant today.<
Kennedy was right
He was shot and killed while in office, and there is no greater legacy attributed to John F. Kennedy than his promise to put a man on the moon. Less than six years after his death, we did just that. And we brought them back safely, just like Kennedy promised.
First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him back safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.
It turned science fiction into reality
For years, many great science fiction novels and the pages of Analog magazine theorized about what it was like on the moon. Adventures took place there, colonies were built and the moon was a place of fantasy. Not anymore. The day after we landed on the moon, science fiction writers around the globe not only celebrated the fact, but started looking for more far-fetched places for alien detective stories — like Mars. If we hadn’t landed on the moon, Total Recall may have never been as cool as it was.
Gave our kids something to aspire to
The Cold War was a bummer. The kids growing up in the 1960s were tired of hiding under their desks for nuclear bomb drills and were feeling depressed by society. Being told they could grow up to be president didn’t sound that great anymore after Kennedy’s assassination. Growing up to be Mickey Mantle was the next best option, but that only brought thoughts of liver damage. Then we set foot on the moon, and now you could grow up to be an astronaut. How fantastic is that? Can you imagine the wonder on a child’s face sitting in front of the television as Armstrong bounded along the moon’s surface?
It validated NASA’s existence
NASA was under a lot of pressure from the government and from the American public to do something spectacular. When Kennedy promised a moon landing, the scrutiny was even harsher. NASA had no choice but to land us on the moon as quickly as possible. When it did, it achieved at least 40 years of grants and funding; only now is it coming under scrutiny again.
We actually sent a spacecraft to the moon and landed on it
The Apollo 11 mission astronauts trained hard for countless hours for this mission. NASA spent millions of dollars on building a spacecraft with the specifications needed to land on the moon. They didn’t have a moon to test it on first — this was the test. Sure, they could simulate the landing, but nothing is better than the real thing. The science, the engineering, the planning and training that went into this project was the first of its kind. We landed men on the moon. Think of how amazing that actually is and the hundreds of people it took to do it. Forty years ago today, every single one of those people watched the moon landing again on the evening news and reflected on the part that they played in putting a man on the moon. This is a virtual toast to every single one of them. Let’s not have it be another 40 years before we are back there, building a mini-mall.