Posted on Sep 24, 2015 in All Blog Posts, Travel

HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH

FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON

JULY 1969, A.D.

WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND

(Plaque left on the Moon by Apollo 11 astronauts)

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Since time began, man has looked to the heavens in wonder, attempting to master the secrets of the universe.  As we discovered in Take Flight, once man mastered the rudiments of air travel, he forevermore strove to fly higher, further, faster.

Few could conceptualize what lay beyond the Milky Way, but imaginations soared, assisted by sci-fi writers – Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, etc., television shows – the Outer Limits, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, etc., comic books – The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and more.

A bounty of children’s handkerchiefs are devoted to space travel. Many are quite worn, from multiple treks to Mars and Pluto, I assume, so bear with their condition, as they survived a significant period in history, and deserve a look. Many contain images as detailed as comic books graphics of that era.

 

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To enhance your viewing, the Best of Star Wars, composed and conducted by John Williams,

Skywalker Symphony, Skywalker Ranch, published 2012

 

spacetravel010 Little blue men with remarkably humanoid features.spacetravel012

“It’s a fixer-upper of a planet, but we could make it work.”

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, speaking in May 2013 about the possibility of humans eventually settling on Mars.

No clever explorer would venture forth without his trusty ray-gun.

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“I have a strong feeling about interesting people in space exploration. . . .

 And the only way it’s going to happen is to have some kid fantasize about

getting his ray gun, jumping into his spaceship, and flying into outer space.”

George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars movies

Ray-guns at the ready, these junior space travelers stand at attention, able to snap to at a moment’s command from Captain Kirk. What a handsome, sophisticated hankie for a young boy to carry. Perfection.

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Dodging planets and satellites, we hope our intrepid travelers don’t land on a planetary volcano. Note the congested sky traffic, even then. Portents of things to come?

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spacetravel022  On the left, Fido navigates in the cockpit alongside his master. Below, this homey space ship even has window boxes full of greenery.spacetravel024

There is so much detail in the next quartet, just enjoy…

“Space is a laboratory, and we go into it to work and learn the new.”

John Glenn Jr., First American to orbit the earth

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“I’m coming back in… and it’s the saddest moment of my life.”

Astronaut Ed White expressing regret at the conclusion of the first

American spacewalk during the Gemini 4 Mission June 3, 1965.

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”When I first looked back at the Earth, standing on the Moon, I cried.”

Alan Shepard, recalling his time on the lunar surface during the

 Apollo 14 mission in February 1971

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“Space is less than 80 miles from every person on earth – far closer than

most people are to their own national capitals.”

Daniel Deudney, ‘Space:The High Frontier in Perspective’, August 1982

spacetravel032 These precariously tethered astronauts call to mind the exploits of George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in the movie GRAVITY. It’s uncanny how these 50 yr. old images could be so prescient.spacetravel033

 

The artist employed the same care and attention to detail with space hankies for tiny tots. Bunnies, ducklings, puppies, and pint size pachyderms explore space – complete with helmets and oxygen tanks.

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“I’m really excited. It feels really good.”

Kathryn Gray, age 10.  The youngest person to discover a supernova

(SN2010lt in UGC 3378). Reported by the BBC, January 4, 2011

Additional images from different artists attest to the fact that interest in space was enormous and started early!  Note the girl (teddy bear) astronaut in her skirt, and the fanciful galaxy border of stars.

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Even Disney got in on the action. Astronaut Mickey is about to zip off the blackboard.

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On the left, a French hankie features the requisite “little green men from Mars.” Made in France and exported to the USSR in the mid-80’s, the owner’s mother bought it in Moscow, and had it in her collection for more than thirty years. The daughter brought it to Boston last year, and it’s now in my collection. It may not have made it to the moon, but it did a pretty fair job of navigating planet earth! I’ll do my best to preserve it for future generations, who may actually get to participate in space travel.  On the right, Rocket Boy, a Japanese manga, swoops through the universe to save humanity.

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Making History

On April 12, 1961 Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, igniting the “Race for Space.”  Shortly thereafter, speaking to Congress on May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy intoned “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” The following handkerchief illustrates that ever important race. Regardless of the pop colors used in the flags, we wonder – are these countries tied together in a united cause, or engaged in a tug of war for supremacy?

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The 1950’s – 60’s were an era of “cold war” détente, ICBMs, and cuspidate competition. In this climate, rational minds reasoned that space, of necessity, had to be a province of peace for the planet to survive.

“No national sovereignty rules in outer space. Those who venture there

go as envoys of the entire human race. Their quest, therefore,

must be for all mankind, and what they find should belong to all mankind.”

President Lyndon B. Johnson, news conference, August 29, 1965

The next handkerchief exemplifies that universal spirit, featuring the Apollo 11 flight, with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin. It reads:

The Event of the 20th Century.

The first man walked on the moon.

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“To go places and do things that have never been done before—

that’s what living is all about.”

Michael Collins

Apollo 11 was the first space flight to land humans on the moon on July 20, 1969.  Six hours later, on July 21st, Neil Armstrong was the first man to step onto the lunar surface.  An estimated 530 million people were watching as he exclaimed “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”

The event was commemorated on stamps from Iran to Grenada and beyond.

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Sad to contemplate:

“The regret on our side is, they used to say years ago, we are reading about you in science class.

Now they say, we are reading about you in history class.”

Neil Armstrong, July 1999

Epilogue

“To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit.”

Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist, cosmologist

Some have questioned the effort, energy, and expenditure on an endeavor which seems so removed from our daily lives. They might be surprised to learn that anything cordless, fireproof, lightweight, miniaturized or automated had its beginnings in the space program. According to Mary Roach, in her book Packing for Mars, objects derived from the space program include cordless power tools, artificial limbs, implantable heart monitors, solar panels, computerized insulin pumps, firefighter’s masks, trash compactors, bulletproof vests, and yes, even sports bras and dust busters. Perhaps most meaningful to those reading this – High Speed Wireless Data Transfer originated from the space program. Applause please, and perhaps a wee bit of genuflection is in order.

Per Aspera, Ad Astra.

 

John F. Kennedy’s address to Rice University September 12, 1962 challenging America to embrace the race for space. (It’s a bit longer (4:11 min) than the usual version, but worth the watch.

 

3 Comments

  1. 10-14-2015

    ann,
    great great topic
    well done!
    sincerely, bee segal

  2. 10-14-2015

    Looks like some UFO’s in those hankies! I keep hearing that Obama is poised to reveal some of the government data on UFO’s, and then those intentions seem to .. fade into space.
    Great blog post ..

  3. 10-18-2015

    I love your blog – and this one is spectacular. Your prose is so beautiful.

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