The big week is here: Moon Landing Week!
Or at least, it eventually will be known as Moon Landing Week. For now, we know that this upcoming Thursday (July 20th) is the 48th anniversary of the Moon Landing… or perhaps we don’t. Perhaps you just learned that now.
In honor of this year’s Moon Landing Day, here are ten things you can do to celebrate.
Listen to JFK’s Space Speech at Rice University
In September of 1962, with little over a year to live, John F. Kennedy, gave a speech where he reimagined the history of humankind into a 50 year span, and told us what we could accomplish before midnight during these condensed five decades.
He tells us, in this speech, that space has the potential to be “a sea of peace” or a “new terrifying theater of war.” He also reminds his audience that sometimes the right thing is the difficult one:
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
We could dwell at length on the lessons in this speech, the similarities and contradictions between that moment in America and this one. Regardless, it’s something listen to and consider on this Moon Landing Day.
Of course, Kennedy did not live to see the Moon Landing, but it did happen within the decade, as he envisioned.
Read “To the Moon” by Percy Bysshe Shelley
If you’ve read The Moonborn, you may already be familiar with this poem. Here it is, a short simple poem, from over a century and a half before Kennedy’s speech:
Art thou pale for wearinessOf climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,Wandering companionlessAmong the stars that have a different birth, —And ever changing, like a joyless eyeThat finds no object worth its constancy?
This poem can be found in several different versions, as it’s a fragment, in the public domain.
Read it again. It’s a good one.
Read Neil Armstrong’s Obituary
In 2012, Neil Armstrong died and was widely eulogized. You can read excellent obituaries by him in various sources, including The Economist and The New York Times.
You can also read Buzz Aldrin’s statement on Armstrong, including the line:
… I realized that even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone.
Powerful words, from a great living American hero.
Watch Buzz Aldrin Punch a Guy
He’s not just good at eulogies; Aldrin is also good at punching conspiracy theorists. Below you can watch him punch a conspiracy theorist who had been chasing him around for minutes, calling him a liar and a coward:
You can also watch this video where Bill Burr’s commentary on Buzz Aldrin (and this famous punch) is intercut with the punch itself:
One wonders how Twitter would have handled this, if it happened today.
Watch a Behind-the-Scenes Video of Buzz Aldrin Collaborating with Snoop Dogg
This is a weird one. Not long after he punched a guy, Aldrin worked with Snoop Dogg on a song called “Rocket Experience.” The song is pretty wild, but this behind-the-scenes video is even crazier.
Moon walker, poet, rapper, and a puncher of conspiracy theorists. Aldrin contains multitudes.
Watch the Ali G Interview with Buzz Aldrin
I realize that anything related to Ali G is pretty played out, but this is pretty funny.
Ok, enough parts of this list have now been dedicated to Aldrin’s later day antics. But it’s amazing how well he explains the concept of humor to Ali G.
Watch Room 237 and Consider that Kubrick Faked the Whole Thing
Of course, this blog is not endorsing the idea that the Moon Landing was fake, and that Kubrick directed it. But it’s good to know and understand the other side’s vision. Watch this bizarre documentary on Netflix.
At the very least, you’ll learn a lot about Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick.
Create a Petition for the White House to Declare Moon Landing Day a Federal Holiday
We have a lot of holidays, but humankind’s first steps on the moon is not included.
Why? I’m not sure. But perhaps that would be a way to unite Americans. The gyre seems wider than ever between the edges of America, with few shared interests, if any. Perhaps looking into space again would be a way to find such commonalities.
Learn this name: Michael Collins
The third guy who went to the moon on Apollo 11, but didn’t actually get to walk around on it.
Not to be confused with the Irish politician of the same name, this Michael Collins is still alive today and is often overlooked in conversations about the Moon Landing.
You can learn more about him here and here, including his fears that Armstrong and Aldrin would die while he survived alone.
Read the NASA Summary of Moon Landing Day
Finally, take a moment to learn about the Moon Landing. When something has such a position in the public eye and perception, it can be easy to realize you don’t know very many details about it. The official NASA website has a pretty good play-by-play of the first landing itself.