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Moon Landing 21st July 2019

Moon Landing 21st July 2019
July 21, 2019 Sandra Goodwin

It’s been a diary quiet week, but busy nevertheless trying to catch up with things that have been shelved, also looking ahead to what is to come. So, some planning, some writing even a bit of time in the garden which is rare lately!
The striking event of the week for me has been the memories of 50 years since the moon landing. Watching some of the original footage, the graphics of which look so archaic now, evoked memories of conversations and feelings in 1969. It seemed an unbelievable step as we watched Neil Armstrong set a foot down from the ladder of the capsule. It was, and still is, a remarkable achievement.
I was struck particularly by the down to earth, humble attitude of Neil Armstrong when he was interviewed subsequently. It was, it seems just another day in his life. And yet, history records the impact on him of seeing earth rise – a spectacularly beautiful oasis in a black space, largely void of colour. We are told that after the fuss died down he returned to his ordinary life with his family, and yet it is hard to imagine that the experience did not have lasting impact on him, and his faith. The records show that the effect was profound, and subsequent astronauts have also spoke about the experience in similar, although not necessarily religious ways.
I wonder how a similar experience might impact on us? We cannot be sure, and partly it would depend on our personalities, but it may be interesting to try and imagine what it would be like and how we might react. Those first astronauts were not prepared for the huge media coverage that followed their return to earth. A significant global tour took them to many places where many questions were asked, by many people. Their answers were of themselves, honest, truthful and often self-effacing; not boastful, or overbearing or superior. I find that inspiring.
The whole journey was fuelled by the politics of the time. It was the cold war. President Kennedy wanted to prove that the USA was superior to the Russians by winning the ‘race’ to the moon. In the event the whole exercise proved to be bigger than politics. It brought together many of the great minds of the time. I did note that men were dominant in the broadcasts, but there were many women there too, working in the background without whose expertise and dedication the whole enterprise would have taken longer and perhaps would not have come together. For example, Katherine Johnson, mathematical calculations, and Margaret Hamilton, Apollo software designer, to name but two. Only recently are their names being brought to the fore and their contributions recognised.
We often don’t know what we may be called to do. Whether we believe that God calls us to a role or whether things happen by chance we can learn from the impressive team that put a man on the moon, that where people come together and share knowledge, working to a common goal, there is little that cannot be achieved.
Hilary