Neil Armstrong and the rest of the Apollo program

Earthrise as observed by Apollo 8, December 24, 1966

Neil Armstrong died Saturday, August 25. He was one of only a handful to have step on another extraterrestial body. The space race was launched for many conflicting goals and had some unintended consequences. One of those was to inspire a whole new generation of environmentalists with images like this earthrise taken by the Apollo 8 mission as is orbited the Moon on Christmas Eve, 1966.

As Martin Rees, astronomer royal, noted in aside partway through his tribute to Armstrong in the Guardian:

The images of Earth’s delicate biosphere, contrasting with the sterile moonscape where the astronauts left their footsteps, have become iconic for environmentalists: these may indeed be the Apollo programme’s most enduring legacy.

For now and the foreseeable future, this the only home we have. Let’s plan to make our schoolyards and parks look more like Earth than like like the Moon, scraped clean and without shade.

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