Take me to the moon

As of tomorrow, it will be 48 years since Neil Armstrong took “one small step”.

Hard as it may be for some people to believe, it was July 20, 1969 when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to set foot on another cosmic body when they walked on the moon.

They became the first of 12, which would have been more if not for the problems (to put it mildly) suffered by Apollo 13 on its way to the moon.

They were the first to walk on the moon, but not the first to play golf on the moon. That honour went to Alan Shepard, who basically smuggled a modified golf club onto Apollo 14 and hit a couple of six-iron shots. I have heard that he got a letter after he returned from a golf club chastising him for not replacing his divots.

What many people probably don’t know is that while President Richard Nixon talked to Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon, he had another speech prepared for the next day, in the event they were unable to take off again from the lunar surface.

Thankfully, he never had to use it.

Possibly the loneliest man in the world (or out of it) was Michael Collins, who had remained on the command module orbiting the moon while Armstrong and Aldrin made the trip down.

It had taken years to put the first men on the moon. After that, though, it became almost routine. By the end of the Apollo flights in 1972, six modules had landed on the moon.

That was the end of the program, and the end of attempts to go to other worlds in the solar system. There has been a lot of talk over the years about possible colonization of other planets or satellites, but nothing has come of it.

Maybe it will one day . . . but I’m not holding my breath.