On this, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the wonder of space exploration and its significance to mankind’s mission.
How many of us take the time to look up at the stars at night? Not many, I’m sure – and for obvious reasons, such as light pollution, digital distractions and the general busyness of life. But if we were to look up, somewhere with a clear, dark sky, we would see countless stars – even planets and the Milky Way galaxy. And reflecting, in silence, on what we could see, we would realise that we are the tiniest fraction of something infinitely greater than ourselves.
The unfathomable scale of the cosmos urges the human heart to seek and to know what lies beyond our embryonic grasp, and to put aside the trivialities of life that hold us back from reaching our potential. At least, in my estimation this is the case. Mankind has, at its best, an insatiable desire to strive towards something greater than itself, and the universe offers a platform for contemplating that greatness. But what is this greatness towards which we strive?
Well, everything that I have experienced and learned in my life so far has culminated in the belief that mankind’s mission is to pursue the true, the good and the beautiful – which I believe to be objective realities, rather than subjective tastes.
This is a mission for each of us to fulfil to the best of our ability during the course of our lives. And in this individual pursuit, we are compelled to participate with each other in fulfilling this mission on grander scales, since on our own we can do only so much.
And this is where the Apollo programme in particular, and space exploration in general, comes into the picture. By venturing out into the universe, we come to know its beauty; through collaborative efforts that are unified by a desire to seek that beauty, we see the goodness of humanity; and by succeeding in our efforts, we come to know the truth of creation.
Apollo 11 is one of the greatest examples of mankind succeeding in its providential mission and of harnessing the human race’s potential in the pursuit of our ultimate destiny – that of knowing, and becoming one with, the source of our amazing mission. Truly, it was a “giant leap for mankind”.
May this 50th anniversary celebration invigorate in humanity a pioneering spirit and desire to go boldly out into the unknown and to embrace the adventures that await us!