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Monday, July 20, 2009

The Eagle has Landed

As this post is published, it is exactly 40 years since Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong took their first steps on the moon.

Science did this. Well okay Science and some very hard-working, brave, and most excellent individuals. It was not homeopathy that brought us to the Moon. It was not alchemy. It was not acupuncture, not creationism, not magical energy crystals, ch'i, auras or witches. There were no ghosts in the spacecraft. Astrology was not consulted on when or whether to launch. No aliens gave us the technology needed, nor were encountered on the trip. Phrenology was not used to screen the potential astronauts and decide who went up when. The interior of the spacecraft and command centers were furnished without caring about Feng Shui.

Instead, it was all knowledge about astronomy, chemistry, electronics, biology, medicine, ballistics, newtonian physics, einsteinian phyiscs, and electromagnetism. Knowledge that has been amassed over centuries using the scientific method to weed out any errors. There were a million things that could have failed during the launch, but thanks to science being rigorous and replicable, we could put our trust in that their calculations and assumptions would be correct when put to the test.

Human endeavour, with the help of Science, put a man on the moon! We are no longer limited to staying on our own planet! When you put human ingenuity, human perseverence and human knowledge together, nothing becomes impossible. As President Kennedy said when issuing the challenge to land on the Moon: "not because they are easy, but because they are hard." And Science, together with Humanity, rose to the challenge and took it on head-first.

My thanks to everyone involved with the space program, they are all heroes. And also thanks to Science, for facilitating and allowing us to do it. I am greatly looking forward to seeing what the collaboration between the two will bring in the future.

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