In this year of celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, as part of the Apollo 11 lunar mission, we should take time to reflect on all of the lessons we’ve learned from our Apollo travels to the Moon. These lessons are absolutely those of discovery, wonder and awe about the Moon itself, but perhaps more important are the lessons we learned about ourselves, Earth, and our place here on our home planet in space. We should also reflect on the people who experienced those flights and how they chose to share their awe and wonder with the rest of us.
Astronaut and spacewalker, Al Worden was the command module pilot of Apollo 15 and he is also a published author and poet. That he is a poet might surprise some people, but I would argue that it shouldn’t be so surprising that Al would feel compelled to share the awesomeness of his spaceflight experience in a very profound and thoughtful way through his writings and poetry.
The Apollo 8 crew shared their experience with us visually, through the iconic Earthrise image that I wrote about in my last Space for Art column and their Christmas message, a reading from the first chapter of Genesis was an appropriate and poetic way of conveying to “all of you on the good Earth”, the wonder of the sight of our home planet rising above the horizon of the Moon.