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Monday, December 6, 1999
...One giant step for mankind
Voyaging is something that mankind does particularly well, giving in to the desire to roam, and excusing the urge of curiosity. Premature retreat is also something that separates humans from the beasts.
Both extremes were displayed by the amazing achievement of traveling to the moon and back, not once, but several times in the 1970s, and then, even more amazingly, dropping the whole thing. Been there. Done that. Yawn.
Thousands of science-fiction stories were written about mankind's first foot-to-soil encounter with another world. As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin hopped down on Tranquility Base, the world watched, united by hope and excitement and awe and wonder. Then changed the channel.
None of the science-fiction stories ever predicted that the landing would be televised, enabling us to vicariously look over the astronauts' shoulders.
This last week has been the 30th anniversary of Apollo 12's return to earth and germ-proof incarceration in Hawaii -- for the sci-fi stories HAD predicted alien microbes!
This image of a rock hammer on the moon is so pedestrian it includes the astronaut's shadow, an amateur photographer's goof.
Burl Burlingame, Star-Bulletin
"Everyday Life" is a photo feature that examines the 20th Century. Send suggestions and reactions to EVERYDAY LIFE, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu HI 96813, or email@example.com.
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