Thursday, December 11, 2008

36 Years Ago Today

Charles A. Wood, whose wonderful 2003 book The Modern Moon: A Personal View I'm finally getting to read, is the Grand Archivist of Record of all things Lunar at Lunar Picture of the Day (LPOD). It's my first stop, every Siderial Day.

Moments ago, I was mentioning Dr. Harrison Schmitt in a private posting, mostly explaining why a paper due January 10 has distracted me from normal human behaviors, big time, since the first of this month.

And Lo, Chuck had not forgotten that "34 years ago today," December 11, 1972, the last manned mission to Earth's Moon landed in Taurus-Littrow Valley. Dr. Schmitt, the only actual scientist to visit the Moon, was Lunar Module pilot, commanded by Captain Gene Cernan. Like all twelve Americans who have been to the Moon, the brief experience continues to this day. Cernan tours and talks to classrooms, inspiring young people who must, eventually, follow. Dr. Schmitt just resigned as head of NASA's Science Directorate, and blasted, appropriately I think, The Planetary Society for forgetting how essential Lunar experience must be before we can overcome the very real hurdles of read deeps space missions.

"The last humans landed on the Moon a generation ago," Chuck writes. "That was before 3.4 billion of the world's present 6.7 billion people were born."
Check the Essential Historic Context HERE.

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