The night of July 20, 1969 I was so tired.
I just wanted to go to sleep.
You’d think my parents would have been happy about that.
But that one night, they made me stay up to watch TV.
And boy, was I bored! And tired.
Of course, I eventually grew to realize the magnitude of what I watched that night. And I appreciate that my parents made me stay up.
So I can proudly say I was one of the 600 million people who watched the live broadcast of the first man walk on the moon.
“One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” ~ Neil Armstrong
Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the historic moon walk.
You may be tired of hearing about it in the news. But I hope you’ll indulge one more.
Because I believe this incredible feat that the United States accomplished — to send a man to the surface of the moon and return him safely — was nothing short of miraculous.
There were some 400,000 people who worked over 9 years to make it happen. Something I don’t believe would be possible without God.
And then there are the stories from the astronauts who speak of the immense beauty of our universe they got to see firsthand from a different perspective … and that it could only be the result of God’s work.
We read about the creation of the world in the Bible. And we are blessed to get a glimpse into the far reaches of the Lord’s creation that is made possible through space exploration.
This week’s Genuflect looks at the Apollo 11 mission from 50 years ago this week: what was involved in the mission, some facts you may not have been aware of, Pope Paul VI’s interest and involvement, communion on the moon, Catholics in space, and ways to give thanks to the Lord for all of His creations.
As you can see, I’m no longer bored by the moon landing. I am in awe. So join me in celebrating the achievements of man … and recognizing they are all made possible by the Lord.
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“The Eagle has landed…” Here’s an overview of the Apollo 11 mission that took place from July 15, 1969 to July 24, 1969, culminating in the first human to set foot on another planetary body.
If you really want to geek out, here is a detailed timeline of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission, beginning with the countdown on July 14, 1969 through the crew being released from quarantine back on Earth.
Even though the moon landing was a profound technological and scientific achievement as well as an unparalleled symbol of national pride, there are still plenty of details that most people don’t know. Launch this gallery to see 18 interesting facts you’ve probably never heard before. And then scroll down a bit to watch the original CBS News coverage of Armstrong’s first step on the moon.
The night of July 20-21, 1969, Pope Paul had spent time looking at the moon through the telescope of the Vatican Observatory at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. Then he watched the actual landing and the first moon walk on television. But his message to the U.S. astronauts and a congratulatory telegram to then-President Richard Nixon represent only a tiny portion of what Pope Paul had to say about the expedition months before the July 16 launch and months after the July 24 return to earth.
Men had already prayed in space, but Aldrin was about to go one step further—literally and figuratively. Part of his mission was not just to land on the moon, but to walk on it. To prepare, he took communion after the Eagle lunar module landed on the moon’s Sea of Tranquility during an hour-long downtime period designed to let the astronauts recover from their space flight and prepare for their moon walk. Here’s why NASA downplayed the event.
When Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong gingerly stepped onto the surface of the moon July 20, 1969, Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno had no idea that some day he would become the director of the Vatican Observatory.
Catholics Working at NASA Saw Their Work in Space Exploration as Part of Their Life’s Vocation to go to Heaven
2008 marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of NASA. This article celebrated that event by looking at the role of the Catholic Church in astronomy and the role of the Church and Catholics at NASA.
“When you see the Earth from that vantage point and see all the natural beauty that exists, it’s hard not to sit there and realize there has to be a higher power that has made this,” said astronaut Mike Hopkins, who is Catholic.
Most people only hear the last 10 seconds of the countdown before a rocket launch. In reality, it lasts for hours and requires multiple days of rehearsal. The few exhilarating minutes are preceded by months of tedious work. Libby Osgood’s journey from being an aerospace engineer to a religious sister followed a similar timeline.
It’s probably important to start understanding and thinking more about living in space because frankly that is where the human future may be. At some point the Catholic Church will need to think about how people can “do” Catholicism in space. Here are some considerations.
There are many ways to show appreciation to God for the beautiful Earth He created for all to enjoy. Here are six.
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