Jul 14, 2014 01:25 AM EDT
July 20 marks the 45th anniversary of the lunar landing by NASA. "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," Neil Armstrong said, on the day that he, and Buzz Aldrin took the first steps on Earth's moon. "One giant leap for mankind" indeed.
45 years later Armstrong cannot share the anniversary celebration with Aldrin, Armstrong died in Aug. 2012. But Aldrin can with the third astronaut Michael Collins, who manned their spaceship while the pair took their first moonwalk. But what does Aldrin, NASA, and the U.S. government intend on doing to ring in this historic occasion.
Aldrin has understandably strong feelings about the upcoming celebration. He has started a digital and book campaign of sorts to reignite people's awareness about the lunar landing. In a YouTube video, Aldrin discusses what the Apollo mission means to him and should mean to the country, "I feel we need to remind the world about the Apollo missions and that we can still do impossible things. The whole world celebrated our moon landing, but we missed the whole thing, because we were out of town," Aldrin said, The Washington Post reported.
Aldrin told The Washington Post reporter, that he hopes to meet President Barack Obama on the anniversary day, and continue the tradition that he, Armstrong and Collins have had dating back to 1969. During that time, President Richard M. Nixon visited the three intrepid astronauts, and every five years since, a sitting U.S. president has come to visit them.
In fairness, Aldrin, Collins, and Armstrong met with President Obama in 2009, when the Apollo 11 crew astronauts were honored with a ceremony at the White House. Aldrin says he has not heard any communication from the White House as yet, The Washington Post reported.
Besides Aldrin's nostalgia for the anniversary, he has strong opinions about returning back to the moon. Aldrin himself does not wish to go, but he wants the U.S. to return to lunar exploration rather than to Mars. Aldrin posits in his book "Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration," that the Mars mission is ambitious. The Mars ambition was what Armstrong and Aldrin seemed to agree on, The Washington Post reported. Both Aldrin and Armstrong feel that a return to the moon, especially on long-duration missions, would be beneficial for the space program.
Meanwhile, NASA's plans for the anniversary celebration will be the renaming of a building. The American space agency will rename the famous Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building, where Armstrong used to stay, while his lunar spacecraft was prepared before launching to the moon, Space Coast Daily reported.
The O&C is the place where they are expected to have the anniversary celebrations. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Kennedy Center Director Robert Cabana, and Apollo 11 crew members Collins and Aldrin are expected to attend.
There is still no word from the White House on if they will attend the event. But, the White House is known for scheduling appearances at the last minute.
Happy 45th anniversary.
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