Lib Link: Christine Jardine MP on the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine has written in the Scotsman of her memories on the first moon landing fifty years ago. She writes,

For many of my parents’ generation, it was the ultimate fulfilment of John F Kennedy’s promise to explore the stars and send a man safely to the moon and back by the end of the decade. That generation had lived through World War II as children, endured the fear and tension of the Cuban missile crisis as young parents and the grief of lost opportunities with the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King.

And she recognises that the science developed in the course of space exploration benefits us all:

Those missions ultimately brought CAT scans, water purification, memory foam, equipment used to cut victims out of vehicles, and so many other things.

But even more importantly, Christine argues that the lunar missions gave people

confirmation that humans have an almost infinite capacity for invention and achievement.

She concludes that

Our planet currently faces a challenge that will demand all the passion, experimental science and technological advance we can find to save it from the damage we have done. Fifty years on, Neil Armstrong’s small step onto the moon should give us the belief that if we have the will, we can.

You can read the full article here.

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20 Comments

  • Richard Underhill 17th Jul '19 - 11:36am

    “safely to the moon and back” is the key element of President Kennedy’s objective.
    It follows that humans should not be sent to Mars unless they can be protected from solar radiation over a journey of several lunar months.
    Reportage is that women are more suitable than men, because they are less likely to argue with each other (Margaret Thatcher is dead)
    because they are, on average, more compact
    and because lengthy travel can be boring, so read a book or two, or three, … .
    Giving birth during the journey could be inconvenient, so candidates should not be pregnant or likely to become pregnant.
    Might it be better not to send humans at all? Why do we need them? For publicity?
    Not sending humans reduces the cost substantially.
    The lessons from the moon landings were also that robotics were then vastly inferior to now. Three computers voted by a two to one majority if they disagreed. Modern electronics are much more reliable and very much faster.
    Many of us have seen the advertisements for a paint shop in a car factory.
    Robotics have already been sent to Mars and more could follow.
    The urgent priority should be to look after the planet we have, better than the others,

  • nigel hunter 17th Jul '19 - 2:35pm

    Yes, we should look after this Planet but we are also an inquisitive species and a destructive one running out of resources. Discussion. We look after this Planet and exploit others to keep ‘progress’ going. It is only recently that people seem to be aiming to make money out of it. That always stirs people up. Is it inevitable that the species expands or goes the way of the dinosaurs?

  • John Marriott 17th Jul '19 - 6:23pm

    Back in 1962 President Kennedy ended a speech in Texas by saying; “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and to do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard”. Now that’s the statement of a real statesman. Compare that with what is coming out of the Oval Office today.

    JFK was no saint; but, oh dear, how we miss that kind of ‘can do’ philosophy today when most politicians seem to be hooked on ‘easy wins’. When you think that the total computing power of the Lunar Module was, I am led to believe, less than that of an i phone, the achievement is even more remarkable, except for those, who still believe that it all took place in an aircraft hangar in Arizona!

  • The UN Report on Poverty in the UK (author Prof Philip Alston) published nearly three months ago is unfortunately is a bit more down to earth.

    It would be very pleasing if Christine, as our DWP spokesperson, could welcome and support it

  • Malcolm Todd 18th Jul '19 - 12:15am

    nigel hunter 17th Jul ’19 – 2:35pm
    “Is it inevitable that the species expands or goes the way of the dinosaurs?”

    Why are dinosaurs always referenced as some sort of evolutionary failure? They lastedfor a couple of hundred million years – individual species of dinosaur lasted for several million years. Humans will be doing very very well if we go even half the way of the dinosaurs. Which at the moment doesn’t seem at all likely…

  • …Christine (Jardine) jargues that the lunar missions gave people, “confirmation that humans have an almost infinite capacity for invention and achievement”…

    However, a major downside of the landings is that it gave the lie (in may people’s eye) to Carl Sagan’s “Spaceship Earth”…If you can go somewhere else why bother to look after ‘the pale blue dot’ of what you have…

  • Paul Barker 19th Jul '19 - 3:36pm

    Those who are interested ought to look up The planned “Lunar Gateway”, the 1st step to colonising The Moon & a joint NASA/European Space Agency project. The Gateways Orbit has just been agreed, an interesting “Pringle” shape though seen from here it will be a halo round The Moon.
    One way to look at Lunar colonisation is that we will be bringing Life to an utterly Dead World.You might think of it as continuing Gods work.

  • Dennis Wake 19th Jul '19 - 4:09pm

    How will people live in a place without the sort of atmosphere we have on Earth ? It would be a lot simpler if we just tried to make our beautiful planet a better place to live. Sorry to be such a bore but one thing humans cannot stand is the blindingly obvious.

  • Paul Barker 19th Jul '19 - 5:26pm

    One of the drivers for the growth of a Green consciousness was the Photo of The Earth rising over the surface of The Moon, taken in 1968, its been endlessly re-used by campaigners since. Sometimes we have to leave a place to really appreciate it.
    Theres no contradiction between wanting to preserve Life here & spreading it to New Worlds.
    Any Lunar colony will have to start by importing Food, Water & Oxygen from Earth, as the crew of The ISS do now but we know that The Moon has plentiful supplies of Water, Energy & Soil, colonists could become self-sufficient in time.

  • Richard Underhill 19th Jul '19 - 8:42pm

    We should give priority to looking after the planet we have.

  • Richard Underhill: Absolutely right

    Paul Barker: How can you take the Earth’s atmosphere to the Moon without leaving the Earth without an atmosphere where all living things would die ? A bit of oxygen for explorers is not the same as enough for normal people and other creatures to live on the Moon. All the money spent on Moon exploration and colonisation could make Earth a better place and halt climate change. The colonies of the past have become a dreadful embarrassment to most people except followers of Donald Trump and Brexiteers like BJ etc

  • The climate has been changing throughout the known history of this planet. Both before man existed and I expect it will continue to change long after man ceases to exist.

    I doubt the Earth is the future of the species – it would seem to be awfully limiting. The Moon and/or Mars seem to be obvious candidates for colonies. Some may be relieved to know that there is plenty of oxygen to spare on the Earth. Some life actually takes carbon dioxide and produces oxygen as a waste gas.

  • Laurence Cox 20th Jul '19 - 12:39pm

    “Those missions ultimately brought CAT scans”

    I don’t know where Christine Jardine got this idea from, as I knew the inventor of Computerised Tomography, Godfrey Hounsfield, who won the Nobel Prize for his achievements. It was nothing to do with NASA.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godfrey_Hounsfield

  • Dennis Wake 20th Jul '19 - 2:11pm

    John Peters: I am fully aware that carbon dioxide is converted to oxygen and that the Earth’s climate has been changing forever but we did not have the ability to do anything about it before. If it is possible we should not allow parts of the Earth to become uninhabitable unless there is suitable space for those who live there to move to. I guess you would love to live on the Moon or Mars. Maybe you can explain how we could get an appropriate atmosphere to be permanently established in those places.

  • Yeovil Yokel 20th Jul '19 - 2:30pm

    I agree with Richard & Dennis, manned space exploration is a terrible misuse of precious resources and is not a good way to sort out our problems here on Earth. We should look after the planet on which we have evolved to live rather than create artificial habitats elsewhere to which we can export our mess.

  • Paul Barker 20th Jul '19 - 3:33pm

    In one sense the Manned exploration & eventual colonisation is simply a continuation of our History on Earth, expanding from Africa into every corner, however apparently uninhabitable.
    Right now, everyone who goes into space has to be supplied with Food, Water & Oxgen from Earth but that is just an initial phase. In fact Space, while a harsh environment does come with a literally endless supply of Energy, Raw Materials & Space itself. The Moon is just a tiny first step.

  • @ Paul Barker are there any signs of an uplift in our latest opinion poll on the moon, Paul, and is there sufficient of an atmosphere up there to flutter a flag ? Do tell.

    By the way our friend from Yeovil has got it right – a waste of resources and yet another addition to Greenhouse gases.

  • Yeovil Yokel 20th Jul '19 - 11:22pm

    Joseph, I don’t share your heady enthusiasm for manned space travel, particularly when self-interested private corporations become involved.
    As for the New World, it wasn’t ‘discovered’ because there was already someone living there – and like the Australian Aborigines, New Zealand Maoris, Mexican Aztecs, etc. the Native Americans wouldn’t have been too chuffed to see the new arrivals, with good reason. In any case, the range of European exploration during the 15th – 19th Centuries was finite because once you reached the Pacific you would start coming back – whereas manned space travel and its associated costs are virtually limitless in their scope. Compared to a mission to Mars a project like HS2 would represent excellent value for money.

  • jayne mansfield 21st Jul '19 - 12:11pm

    I am afraid that Christine is ignoring the contribution of Nazi scientists admitted to America and the vile ‘experiments that moved science forward’.

    I would commemorate the anniversary by a ceremony of silent remembrance of those who suffered and died in those experiments, particularly at this moment in American political history, rather enter into a Trumpian whitewash and glorification of immoral scientific endeavour.

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