After leaving work a couple minutes early to beat traffic, my good friend and coworker Eric Rader and I, arrived at the Science Museum of Western Virginia for a presentation we had been looking forward to for weeks. Dr. Edgar Mitchell was the sixth person to walk on the Moon and with that feat he joined an elite group of astronauts, of which only eight are still living. Dr. Mitchell’s presentation centered around his Apollo 14 Mission with fellow astronauts Allen Shepard and Stuart Roosa to the Fra Mauro region of the Moon, which was originally intended for the ill fated Apollo 13 mission. Going through the details of their mission reminded me of the complexity and ingenuity that was required to successfully take these men to the Moon and return them safely to the Earth. Even though there wasn’t time for pictures or a handshake at the end, I still consider it an honor to say that I was in a room and got to hear the story of how we went to the Moon from someone who has actually walked on it.
It is incredible to me that there are only eight people alive who have walked on the Moon. After all of the promises of lunar bases and tickets sold for the Moon in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I’m sure few during those exciting decades of space travel would have guessed that we would just simply stop going. While I’m sure there will be a time in my life when we will return to the Moon, perhaps in decent numbers, until that time comes, the era of the Apollo program will continue to be our nostalgic view back at a future we had hoped would be more promising for lunar exploration.