Monday, August 23, 2010

Earthrise 1.0

Forty four years ago today, on the 23 of August 1966, the first views of earthrise over the moon were viewed by humans.

Lunar orbiter I transmitted the above image to an eagerly awaiting gaggle of geeks back on earth. This mission to the moon experienced several glitches, the most serious of which was in the star-tracking system used for navigation. It is difficult to imagine the spectacle of a early 60s technological anomaly sputtering and sparking across the vastness of space.

Mankind looked back for the first time at our planet rising over the horizon of a distant lifeless world.

On that planet a new generation of Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda was popping up in showrooms across America. Those cars that would sputter and spark across the new interstate highways were the embodiment of technology to most people. People could smoke their pre-cancer cigarettes, and feel the summer air lapping at their large polyester lapels through the open window of their huge “mid-sized” next generation Dodge Dart. Half a million Americans were an unimaginable distance away wondering how you even pronounced the name Laos. A quarter of a million miles away man watched a new type of dawn.

Somewhere in California a music executive signed the last papers for the next day’s release of the first (and self titled) album by the group that called themselves “The Doors”. The first song on that album was “Break on through to the other side”, and the last song was “The End”.

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