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Right now, 40 years ago..

Right now, 40 years ago, Armstrong and Aldrin were walking on the moon.

"Here Men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."

Mysteriously, NASA didn't seem to keep much of the footage and didn't even have a PR plan about the momentous and memorable photography that has inspired generations.

From Boing Boing: Unlike the digital camera era of today, in 1969 we were shooting on film, typically looking through a small optical opening on the back of the camera that corresponded with what the camera's lens was "seeing." But with our large space helmets, such a viewfinder would have done little good anyhow. So, similar to cowboys shooting their sixguns from their hips, we aimed the camera in the direction of what we wanted to photograph, and squeezed the trigger. Given that ambiguity, it is even more of a credit to Neil that we brought back such stunning photographs from the moon.

if you look more carefully at the reflection in the gold visor on my helmet, you can see the Eagle with its landing pad, my shadow with the sun's halo effect, several of the experiments we had set up, and even Neil taking the picture. It is a truly astounding shot, and was the result of an entirely serendipitous moment on Neil's part. Later, pundits and others would wonder why most of the photographs on the moon were of me. It wasn't because I was the more photogenic of the two helmet-clad guys on the moon. Some even conjectured that it must have been a purposeful attempt on my part to shun Neil in the photos. That, of course, was ridiculous. We had our assigned tasks, and since Neil had the camera most of the time we were on the surface, it simply made sense that he would photograph our activities and the panoramas of the lunar landscape. And since I was the only other person there . . .

Ironically, the photography on the moon was one of those things that we had not laid out exactly prior to our launch. NASA's Public Affairs people didn't say, "Hey, you've got to take a lot of pictures of this or that." Everyone was interested in the science. So we did the science and the rest of it was sort of gee-whiz. We had not really planned a lot of the gee-whiz stuff that, in retrospect, proved quite important.

I've been following the lead up to today and been reading and hearing all sorts of glib, flip remarks. One that has stuck in my head is - the most important achievement of mankind - or something to that effect. And I keep thinking about that. Surely indoor plumbing, hygeine in surgery, the polo vaccine, eradication of small pox ... would have impacted on more people's lives than NASA going to the moon? I mean, it's an awesome endeavour and proves that we can leave our planet and it brought us pyrex. But in terms of achievements with wide reaching impacts, is going to the moon really the most significant thing we as a species have ever achieved?


What makes life worth it for you? What's your passion? What's the point, for you?

And do you make that a priority in your life?

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