[**This post was originally posted on July 20, 2009 in honor of the first Moon Landing.]
People, some smart people, are messing with my moon landing.
Someone like Tom Wolfe, for example, the author of the novel “The Right Stuff” of the Mercury astronauts, wonders in yesterday’s New York Times, whether it was one big leap into nowhere (nowhere was the word–this from the author of a books and journalism titled, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby and The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test. Vocabulary is not one of his weaknesses, OK?)
He basically argues that since that moment in July, 1969, NASA has not had a philosopher able to articulate why we should do more.
He quotes Wernher von Braun, German rocket scientist, but suggests (plausibly) that a former Nazi scientist could not become a US Philosopher King, even if he crossed the pond in 1945.
But, what Tom Wolfe remembers of a speech von Braun gave close to the end of his life when he knew he was dying from cancer is my food for thought on this fortieth anniversary of the moon landing and walk. (From NYTIMES)
Here on Earth we live on a planet that is in orbit around the Sun. The Sun itself is a star that is on fire and will someday burn up, leaving our solar system uninhabitable. Therefore we must build a bridge to the stars, because as far as we know, we are the only sentient creatures in the entire universe. When do we start building that bridge to the stars? We begin as soon as we are able, and this is that time. We must not fail in this obligation we have to keep alive the only meaningful life we know of.”
I think my “food for thought” requires an adult beverage.
On this historical day permit me to make one small leap to the scotch cabinet.
©Pat Coakley 2009
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