Thesis On Space Race

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At the height of the space race, its very name would have suggested that humanity was on course for achieving a higher stage of civilization, in fulfillment of the promise on the plaque that Apollo 11 left behind: “We came in peace for all mankind.” But Pappas’s historical collage shows those words to be ironic at best.We were amused that people once feared that the surface of the moon was an ocean of dust particles, so that a landing module would sink, astronauts and all.And we learned the sequence of previous American space programs: Mercury, with one astronaut per mission; then Gemini, with two; then Apollo, with three.The semicentennial of the Apollo 11 mission is one of those anniversaries that involves a good deal of forgetfulness.Public memory of the space program is concentrated into video images of astronauts moving in low gravity and a pronouncement by Neil Armstrong that was profound in intention, though a non sequitur as delivered.(Or the high point in Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic career, according to a more conspiratorial vision of things.) But what was there to show for all of it but a growing collection of rocks?Those of us of the age and temperament to be full-on space-exploration nerds at the time remember things a little differently.We were the kids able to explain who the Goddard Space Center was named after -- and who insisted on doing so.We consumed Space Food Sticks and had lunar globes.“While Neil Armstrong was the first human to talk on the moon,” Pappas notes for the record, “Buzz Aldrin was the first to urinate on it.When he made a longer-than-expected jump from the lunar module, the Eagle, to the moon’s jagged surface, his urine collector tore open on impact.


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