Aside from being a remarkable feat of engineering and technology, the moon landing, and indeed space exploration in general, provided the world with something far greater – a sense of perspective. The Apollo 11 expedition captured an image that gave us a new view of the earth rising over the Moon’s horizon and along with the “Blue Marble” image taken in 1972, showed the world’s population, earths vulnerability and isolation as a planet. Both images resulted in a surge of environmental activism that played a huge role in the environmental movement that is still ongoing today. Images of the earth were extremely important in showing the world that we are just one small planet in an extremely large solar system.
Now, 50 years later at a time of environmental and climate crisis perhaps it is time to remind ourselves of these images. We may have experienced huge technological advancement in the past 50 years, but we still only have one planet. There is no back up earth or “Planet B”. Greta Thunberg said in April 2019 “It is still not too late to act. It will take a far-reaching vision, it will take courage, it will take fierce, fierce determination to act now, to lay the foundations where we may not know all the details about how to shape the ceiling.”
We can look back to the moon landing of 1969 and see this as a “far-reaching vision” that took “courage” and “fierce determination” to achieve what seemed like the impossible and use it to re-inspire the need to act to protect our “Blue Marble”.