as awe-inspiring as it was, and as hard as it is to believe that it's been forty years, it could well be that the accomplishments of armstrong et al were the beginning of the end for America's space program.
consider this: the difference in the worlds of 1929 and 1969 is as if they are different worlds completely...and yet from 1969 until 2009 what real advances have been made in terms of our exploration and exploitation of the potential of the universe outside our own little ecosystem? in many ways our landing on the moon was treated as an end, rather than a beginning, to our efforts to free us from our surly, earthly bonds.
in my lifetime of awareness, only ronald reagan put forth a true vision of what is or should be possible or accomplished in our space program. his "star wars" initiative was roundly derided as expected by the usual suspects around the globe -as well as their cohorts here at home- but its perfection would have virtually ensured our defense against and control of situations that right now threaten our very existence; think iran and north korea as prime examples. he foresaw that these looneybins would eventually stumble over the key to the nuclear lock, with completely unpredictable and unmentionable consequences...star wars could have neutralized any threat before international airspace was even encroached.
and can there be any doubt that the answers to all of our energy and resources needs are there for the extraterrestrial taking? many of us mourn for ronnie, his philosophy of limiting the role of government in citizens daily lives, and the confidence and sense of purpose that he embodied. but often his vision for the future and what is next for mankind is overlooked.
as we celebrate the anniversary of the awesome accomplishment that landing on the moon absolutely was, and contemplate the warpspeed passing of four decades since, let us remember this: as we are justifiably focused on and consumed by the domestic issues and "change" that threaten our continued existence as a free republic, the answer to the greater question of the continued viability of mankind itself is, as it were, in the stars.
we just have to find a captain, a navigator...and the resolve.