DR MICHAEL ATCHIA
In 1969, Armstrong was asked about the lunar landings. He replied that it was part of man’s expression for self-discovery.
“I think we’re going to the moon because it’s in the nature of the human being to face challenges. It’s by the nature of his deep inner soul … we’re required to do these things”
The first moon landing also united people, if only for a brief time. Over 600 million people watched Armstrong and Aldrin step out of the LEM on 20th July 1969. For the first time in human history, two human beings stood on the surface of another ‘planet’; technically not a planet, just our own moon. This was achieved through technology and allowed us to escape from the planet, to make this “giant step for mankind”.
Throughout history man has had a taste for exploration and discovery: new lands, oceans, north and south pole, the highest mountain peaks. The first drawing of the moon through a telescope by Thomas Harriot dates July 26, 1609, 400 years ago. Mauritius was discovered in the 15th century and Everest was conquered in 1953. By the 1960s, we had reached all corners of the globe and the final frontier was space.
According to NASA, an array of products use technologies or materials originally developed for the space programme: TV satellite dishes, medical imaging devices, the in-the-ear thermometer, fire-resistant materials used in fire-fighting, smoke detectors, sunglasses, cordless power tools, the Space Pen, shock-absorbing materials used in helmets As well as advances in global positioning systems (GPS), food freeze-drying, communication and weather satellites, etc. About 380 kg of lunar rocks were carried back to Earth by the 12 astronauts who walked on the moon. Rocks which scientists examined closely to learn more about the moon’s makeup,
Mauritius will only join space in 2019/20 with one small communication satellite.
Many argued that in the 1960s, as of now, there was widespread economic and social problems and poverty, even in the richest countries in the world. During the moon landings, civil rights protests argued that ‘the billions spent on the space programme, could have been better spent dealing on earth’
Years ago André Gide stated that “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore”. True for all search and research !