I think that some of the most important pictures ever taken were the ones that the astronauts took of the earth from the moon with their video camera. There in the background, while the astronauts hopped around on the lunar soil was this big blue marble with those wispy clouds covering part of the ocean and part of the land.
There are no countries from space. The lines between the countries exist only on maps and in the minds of men. If all the maps were destroyed and the memory of the geographic state was somehow washed from our collective minds, there would only be the People of Earth.
Some parts of the Earth would be full of people who looked a lot alike. Some parts of the Earth would be full of people who looked very different indeed. However, from the viewpoint of an alien looking down at our planet, there would be very little difference. We all look like some kind of featherless biped.
It is rather old hat now to see pictures of earth from satellites. You can see water temperature, snow cover, vegetation, but you can't see the picture I have in my mind. The picture I have in my mind has men on another planet looking back at an earth which is kind of small in the picture, looking not a lot different from the moon in our sky.
When Man landed on the Moon, the whole World thanked the Americans.
That accomplishment came about in some large measure because of the leadership of John Kennedy. It's hard to remember when the president of anything could string words together like this:
We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say the we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.
There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win,
On August 21, 1969, humankind landed on the Moon.
What I find most amazing is not that we did it.
What I find amazing is that we stopped doing it.