Monday, July 20, 2009

From The Earth To The Moon

July 20th is generally considered to be the anniversary of mans first steps onto the lunar soil. But much like the idea that the millennium began in the year 2000, it's a bit ambiguous. You see, in the US, it was indeed the 20th, but here in Ireland, and most importantly, in Greenwich in England, it was already into the early hours of Monday, the 21st of July, 1969. Regardless, we chose to celebrate the occasion with the US, and had a special movie night tonight to mark the historic event.

Opening the evening early at 7pm, we watched Mythbusters NASA Moon Landing Special, wherein they bust some of the bigger so-called "reasons" that conspiracy theorists give to "prove" that the moon landings were fake. By then, a few more people had shown up, and before we started into the trailers, we had a grand crowd of nine people in our living room, watching the big screen. The lights went down, and I started up the trailers.

It has become almost a tradition now that movie night at my place always opens with a number of new trailers for upcoming cinema releases. Tonight was no exception, and we watched trailers for Planet 51, Zombieland, The Last Airbender and District 9, among others. All in all, we got through nine trailers, ending with Moon, right before the feature presentation.

The room went silent as I placed the disk in the Xbox drive, waited for the menu to appear and pressed "Play". The music swelled, and The Dish began.

Claire and I went to see The Dish on release way back in 2000 in the cinema, and have loved it ever since. We bought the DVD as soon as it was released as well, and watching it tonight, I realised I haven't seen it enough. I remember the silence in the theater as Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface and uttered his immortal line. The joy of watching a DVD with friends is that you can chat and joke about scenes, characters or events, and we did. But once those grainy images of a ladder and suited-up spaceman appeared on the big screen, everyone was silent. There was hardly the sound of breathing from all nine of us.

40 years on, mans first steps onto the dusty surface of another world still have the power to silence us, and inspire us to dream.

To everyone involved in the Apollo program, from the men who walked on the moon to the people who built the machines to do it, from those who programmed the computers to those who stitched the spacesuits, thank you all for making a wondrous dream a reality.

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