On July 20th, 1969 Neil Armstrong was the first human being to set foot on the moon. It’s impossible to overstate how incredible this moment. It had only been 60 around years since man had first taken flight, and now this man born in Wapakoneta, Ohio was standing on the ladder, about put is foot down and say the iconic words, “That’s one small step for man, a giant leap for mankind.” His presence there wasn’t just a technical achievement, but an achievement of national willpower. There was no specific reason to go to the moon, but we decided we would do it. And we did it.
It’s amazing to me because the moonshot was a truly noble pursuit, insofar as there was no reward for doing it other than having done it. There was nothing practical about going to the moon, and that’s part of what makes it so special. Politicians talk about having ‘moonshots’ around things like curing cancer now (which is all well and good of course) but that’s an investment in something we want…not a moonshot. The moonshot was a massive investment without any hope of paying itself off in terms in tangible terms.
In my lifetime, there has never been a human on the moon. I know it’s expensive and there lots of reasons we haven’t gone back. But it’s just a strange thought.