On this day 40 years ago the crew of Apollo 17, (Ronald Evans, Eugene Cernan, Harrision Schmitt) splashed down returning to Earth after a successful 12 day mission. Cernan and Schmitt spent over 3 days on the surface of the moon setting records for longest stay on the surface, most samples returned, longest lunar orbit, and distance away from the LM.
Gene Cernan spoke these words as he left the last step man has placed on the surface of the moon:
"I'm on the surface; and, as I take man's last step from the surface, back home for some time to come — but we believe not too long into the future — I'd like to just [say] what I believe history will record. That America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return: with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17."
Sadly we have yet to either return to the moon or reach for another grand attempt of exploration or other destiny shaping goals. Many felt the cost of Mercury/Gemini/Apollo missions was misspent, that the money could have been used on Earth to build a Utopia on our one tiny foothold in our vast universe, solving social, political, and economic issues and creating a planet of peace.
Sadly our record over the past 40 years continues to be marked by violence, greed, corruption, war, genocide, and famine among other things. Instead of spending billions of dollars to explore the backyard of our solar system we have given that money to bail out failing banks. Rather than use the money cut from the latter Apollo missions to create a Utopia we have seen a scourge of crack cocaine and AIDS, we have sent our own to die in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afganistan, we have seen genocide in Sarajevo and throughout Africa after telling the world at the end of WWII genocide would never happen again.
Back in July of this year I posted the following thread marking the anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing: http://www.orangemane.com/BB/showpos...43&postcount=1
Sadly that day was marked by an outbreak of violence in our nation, sadly this post comes in the wake of yet another outbreak of violence even more deadly and heinous.
I write all this begging that we as Americans decide to take on the challenges of our ancestors. That we choose to explore because we as a people will be better for having tried. Making grand goals and working together to accomplish the impossible are things we need to do if we will grow as a band of brothers. Turning inward and putting our needs 1st will only set us back. Giving our children a challenge that rewards hard work, knowledge and perseverance will bind us in ways fear will not. Put people to work on projects so grand that they need school, experience and dedication in their lives. We have drifted aimlessly for too long, jumping from one fiscal cliff to another.
We have carved out a foothold here on the only place in this universe that we can thrive yet we pollute it and damage it. The people who build this country left other continents on trips that lasted months leaving everything behind to come to America to build a better life. Do we wait until it is too late, pushing the burden to later generations to fix the problems we are creating or do we make a grand effort to look for ways outside the current box we are in and find ways to survive, thrive, and gather resources in other harsher environs?
On this anniversary of the end of human kinds greatest feat I ask that we start aiming for the stars and not at each other. I ask that we do not wait another 40 years, further depleting resources, polluting the Earth, watching acts of violence multiply and greed destroy us. I ask that we demand better of ourselves and our leaders now!