Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy Neilsday 2010

Forty one years ago today, the lunar module Eagle undocked from the command module Columbia. After a brief retrofire engine burn, the Eagle descended toward the Sea of Tranquility, a vast lava plain close to the lunar equator. With fuel running out, and the spacecraft descending toward a boulder field, Neil Armstrong took manual control of the lander and brought it down safely.

Later that evening, at 10:56PM EDT, Armstrong would become the first human to set foot on another celestial body, followed shortly after by fellow crew member Buzz Aldrin.

Forty one years later, the Constellation program, along with the Ares launchers, have been cancelled. America has no firm plan to return to the Moon, and the Canadian Space Agency has no lunar exploration initiative. But there are others who may well take on that challenge -- maybe for the wrong reasons of national pride and international prestige at first, but there is always the hope that the door once reopened won't be closed so hastily again.

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