After a week fraught with flying-machine disaster and tension with Russia, it’s nice to remember that 45 years ago today, the United States accomplished a feat of aerospace engineering that put two earthmen, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, on the moon. The Lunar Landing of 1969 not only fulfilled a Holy Grail-esque quest issued by President Kennedy in May of 1961, but also definitively won the moon race with the USSR.
Other remarkable parts of the July 20, 1969 landing included a potential misspeak (Armstrong may have left out a word in his famous first quote–“one giant step for a man”?) and a first com-moon-nion (Aldrin drank wine and ate a piece of bread in radio silence, taking a moony Christian sacrament). That day, the lunar plaque affixed to the ladder of the Apollo 11 landing craft stated “We came in peace for all mankind.” Unfortunately, on this 45th anniversary, peace for all mankind feels much further away than the moon.