"Apollo 1 patch" by NASA - http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/apollo/apollo1/html/s66-36742.html (direct link). Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
William Hines’ editorial, End of a Crazy Business, shows little more than Hines complete lack of understanding of what the Apollo space program achieved and who was involved. It reveals the point of view of a closed-minded, earth-bound mind – but luckily, most people look towards the stars, not towards the dirt.
Project Apollo, much as Hines may like to deny, was indeed a “triumph of the American spirit”. True, no women flew those first missions, nor did any minorities; not directly. But, in a sense, everyone in America flew in those Apollo missions. The men who flew carried the world in their hearts and their country on their backs. Through them, we all went to the moon. We succeed in touching something bigger than us, brushing against a mystery and even coming to unveil a tiny piece of it. As for a lack of youth represented in those who flew, yes, the astronauts were mostly middle-aged, but Hines entirely overlooks the indispensable efforts of Mission Control, of the people on the ground, calculating, building and making the astronauts’ flight possible – many of whom were fresh out of college, with the stars in their eyes.
Furthermore, Hines completely underestimates the impact of the Apollo missions, taking a cynical view of the program’s achievements. He first says that among the few beneficiaries are those “who own IBM stock”. The technological achievements in the Apollo project rippled out to affect the technology we use in our everyday lives – computer technology leaped forward, as did various other instruments. It must be safe to say that we are all grateful for the computer capabilities we have today that many of us can’t imagine living without. As for the scientific benefits, Hines compares them to the search for “the number of angels who can dance on the point of a pin”. Doesn’t the investigation of our universe matter? Knowing how we came to be here? More than just a “sandbox”, the Moon can give us a glimpse into the early history of our solar system, of our universe, and of how we started.
"John W. Young on the Moon" by Charlie Duke - NASA. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Project Apollo has “made the world a better place to live in” and “life more worth living”. The effects of these scientific forays to our Moon are still being felt today. It’s the opinion of this writer, that gaining a better understanding of our place in the universe is more than worth while.
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