Space Age Love Song
On the 42nd anniversary of the first moon landing, City Paper arrived at my door.
Published: July 27, 2011
How ironic—on the 42nd anniversary of the first moon landing, City Paper arrived at my door. Your terrific article about the Hubble Space Telescope and other Baltimore-based scientific space endeavors was welcome (“Seeing Stars,” Feature, July 20). I’m glad space exploration (albeit it by images) is alive and well.
It’s also coincidental that the final space shuttle mission touched down Thursday, July 21, the day after the 1969 Apollo 11 lunar landing anniversary. Maybe we are being sent a message.
I’m fortunate to be able to remember that July evening when the world held its collective breath as the Eagle touched down at Tranquility Base. I’m sorry that in all the talk of Atlantis’ last mission, no correlation has been made to the date of the first moon landing. And while I’m glad space telescopes will continue searching the known universe, I do miss the excitement of manned space travel.
Although Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted the Stars and Stripes on the lunar surface, I give credit to the Russians for making the “one small step for man” possible. The space race was nip and tuck for years, starting with Sputnik in 1957 and then Yuri Gagarin’s orbital flight shortly afterward. Would any American president have dared suggest sending anyone to the moon if the Russians hadn’t taken the first step? And Germany deserves credit as well. Sen. Harrison Schmitt (of the final Apollo moon mission and the last man to set foot on the moon) pointed out in an e-mail recently that technology was probably taking us in that direction all along, and President Eisenhower’s decision to bring Werner Von Braun and his team to this country may have been as critical to landing men on the moon as was Sputnik. Who knows?
If you look at the timetable of history, manned spaceflight is a mere blip—yet it has all seemed long, dangerous, and exorbitantly expensive. I’m proud to have lived through it all. It’s hard to remember back to a time when the moon was a mystery—but now it’s been mapped, probed, imaged, and geologically surveyed.
I’m glad the sky was reasonably clear on the night of July 20. It was late and the moon was an amber smudge behind a cloud when it came up, but I drank a toast to all the great folks who got us there. And on July 21 I lifted one for the space shuttle Atlantis as well, for its successful touchdown at Cape Canaveral. That’s where it all began 42 years ago. What an incredible voyage this has been!
Rosalind E. Heid
Correction: City Councilmember Rikki Spector (D-5th District) did not learn about a lawsuit against her until a July 15 interview with City Paper, not an Aug. 15 interview, as was erroneously reported in last week’s story about the 5th District race (“Council ‘Dean’ Challenged,” Mobtown Beat, July 20).
Editor’s note: The winners of the 2011 Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN) Awards were announced at organization’s annual convention in New Orleans on July 22, and City Paper won two first-place honors among AAN papers with circulations greater than 50,000: Art Director Joe MacLeod won first place in the Column category for Mr. Wrong, and Staff Writer Edward Ericson Jr. won first place in Special Topics: Drug Reporting for his four-part series on the drug-rehab industry in Baltimore (“Cleaning Up,” Feature, June 22, 2010; “Old Habits,” Feature, July 27, 2010; “‘We Are Not in the Housing Business,’” Feature, Sept. 29, 2010; “Waiting for the Plan,” Feature, Nov. 10, 2010). In addition, contributing photographer Ryan “Rarah” Stevenson won third place in the Photography category. Congratulations to Joe, Ed, and Rarah.