Space Exploration Day

July 20 is the day Neil Armstrong became the first of twelve human being to set foot on the moon. It is also sometimes known as Moon Day. For those of us old enough to remember that day in 1969, when we watched those unclear, blobby pictures of the event on our television screens, it can still bring back that feeling of amazement and pride in our achievement as human beings – and the sadness that we pulled back so sharply from space exploration. I’d hoped by now to be able to vacation on the moon or Mars. But it seems we must enjoy the pictures sent back by machines. Still amazing, but not really the same.

And today we celebrate not only the moon landings but also other space exploration. Whether it be Curiosity on Mars, Juno’s approach to Jupiter, or the Voyagers’ missions to the stars, we have seen some amazing pictures of our neighbors. And we also celebrate exploration done only by telescope, particularly the new one being built in South Africa, which is already making discoveries, such as the radio glow of some 1,300 distant galaxies spotted in a patch of sky about 20 times the size of the full moon, where only 70 galaxies had been counted before.


Quotes about space exploration.

That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.–Neil Armstrong

JULY 1969, A.D.
The words on a plaque left on the Moon by Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong.

Mars has been flown by, orbited, smacked into, radar examined, and rocketed onto, as well as bounced upon, rolled over, shoveled, drilled into, baked and even blasted. Still to come: Mars being stepped on.–Buzz Aldrin

Since, in the long run, every planetary civilization will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring–not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: staying alive. –Carl Sagan

To set foot on the soil of the asteroids, to lift by hand a rock from the Moon, to observe Mars from a distance of several tens of kilometers, to land on its satellite or even on its surface, what can be more fantastic? –Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky

The second best thing about space travel is that the distances involved make war very difficult, usually impractical, and almost always unnecessary. This is probably a loss for most people, since war is our race’s most popular diversion…–Robert A. Heinlein

Suddenly, from behind the rim of the Moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery. It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth … home.–Edgar Mitchell

What are we doing here? We’re reaching for the stars.–Christa McAuliffe

I’m really hopeful about the future of space exploration and human spaceflight. Civilization as we know it has been defined by exploration. You know, we need to go off and find out what’s around the next corner and what’s just beyond what we already know. It’s part of our being; it’s part of our moral fiber to go off and explore.–Alan G. Poindexter

By refocusing our space program on Mars for America’s future, we can restore the sense of wonder and adventure in space exploration that we knew in the summer of 1969. We won the moon race; now it’s time for us to live and work on Mars, first on its moons and then on its surface.–Buzz Aldrin

Space exploration is a force of nature unto itself that no other force in society can rival.–Neil deGrasse Tyson

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