50 Years On…

 The Blue Marble

50 years ago this week, mankind achieved possibly it’s greatest ever accomplishment. We successfully landed humans on the moon in what was a giant leap for mankind and scientific exploration. We pushed ourselves to the brink of technological and human limits. It was the equivalent of building the pyramids or Great Wall of China with the tools they had thousands of years ago. Fingers crossed we will be brave enough to push those limits again soon!

 Apollo Missions

What Was The Point In It All?

All week the Apollo missions and their incredible achievements have been in the news, and rightly so. I saw some questions asked though that got me thinking. What legacy did they leave behind? Did they do it in vain? It got me thinking, “What was the point? Why did we do it?” Then I saw the image below, and it hit me.

 The Blue Marble

The Blue Marble

Above is a picture called “The Blue Marble”. It is the last ever whole photo of our planet taken by a human being. At the time, they didn’t know it would be the last photo taken for over 50 years, I imagine some people thought we would be living on the moon by now, and this view would just be a common sight. Personally, I think this is the greatest achievement from the Apollo missions. This photo shows us our home in all its glory; it’s the only home we have ever known, and it’s the only one we have.

50 years ago the environmental movement was just starting out. Now it’s in full force, albeit still with it’s challenges, but we are starting to look around us and appreciate what we have and how delicate this breathtaking planet is. Thanks to photography, some fantastic science and unbelievable bravery from those astronauts we have managed to take a step back and start fighting for the health of our home; for us and all of the creatures that also call it home.

People will always remember those famous words that Neil Armstrong spoke as he climbed down the ladder and stepped onto the moon for the first time, but I’m hoping their greatest legacy will be the start of something much bigger and far more vital for all creatures back here on Earth. I am hoping that if we can get across how fragile and special this amazing plant is, people might just start looking after and nurture it that little bit more.

 Voyager 1

A Pale Blue Dot

Above is a picture taken from Voyager 1 at the very edge of our solar system. It shows how small and insignificant we really are; suspended in the vacuum of space.

Carl Sagan put it perfectly in one of his books:

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there—on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

— http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/earth/pale-blue-dot.html

Millions of years ago, modern humans evolved from staring into the dirt and walking on all fours, to walking on two legs and looking high. We have looked up to the stars for answers ever since. 50 years ago, we finally reached the stars, and it gave us the ability to look back at our home in all it’s magnificent glory. I really hope that the blue marble will inspire people to look down at the earth beneath their feet and fight to save this beautiful world.