Landing on the Moon

As a kid during the seventies, with the moon landing behind us and the space shuttle just around the corner, I took our domination over space, the final frontier, for granted. It was happening, we were already half way there. So what.
But then…
I was fifteen when Challenger blew up – I learned that space exploration was, after all, very dangerous.
I was 26 when the first Mars rover landed – I found myself glued to the TV, we were doing it! And it was exciting again.
I was 32 when Columbia fell apart – Space exploration was not only dangerous, it was disappointingly slow and expensive.
Three years ago the Mars rover, Curiosity, landed and is still going strong (I follow it on twitter.) – I am filled with hope that the chances of humans on Mars in my lifetime are not unreasonable.
And now, Pluto! (Oh, Pluto, you will always be a planet in my heart, if not in my brain.) Those pictures are amazing! We’ve finally looked, up close and personal, at all the big things in our neighborhood.
Ah, Exploration!
This is what we are, my fellow humans, this is what we do, we explore! From the moment we find the strength to lift our heads, to reach out and touch, to crawl, to walk, all for the need to learn – “what is that? I need to go look, touch, smell, feel that thing!”
The things happening in the news right now, yesterday, today, they may or may not merit a heavily edited line in a digital history book someday, but landing on the moon – that means something to everyone – now and then and always.