On July 20, 1969, as astronaut Neil Armstrong took that historic first “step for mankind” onto the dusty, desolate surface of the moon, there was great excitement and joy back at Mission Control in Houston, Texas and all around the world as millions watched and listened to this amazing event. This relatively simple first step was the culmination of almost a decade of dedicated planning, preparation, and testing.
John Young, one of only 12 humans to walk on the moon and commander of NASA’s first space shuttle mission, has died. He was 87.
He died Friday following complications from pneumonia, according to a statement from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The agency didn’t say where he died.
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon and took their first steps on the lunar surface. Half a billion people around the world watched live television images that recorded the event. The landing was, without a doubt, one of the most significant achievements of modern civilization.
For thousands of years, man had looked to the heavens and dreamed of walking on the moon. On July 20, 1969, as part of the Apollo 11 mission, Neil Armstrong became the very first to accomplish that dream, followed only minutes later by Buzz Aldrin.
Their accomplishment placed the United States ahead of the Soviets in the Space Race and gave people around the world the hope of future space exploration.
Almost two thousand years ago there was an event even more amazing, and greatly more significant, when God visited the earth in the person of Jesus, the promised Messiah. We celebrate this event each Christmas. In reviewing these two events, we find some striking parallels, as well as some important differences. As we ponder this comparison we gain new insight and appreciation for the infinitely greater significance of God’s visit to the earth to reconcile lost humanity to Himself.
It is made even more remarkable by the fact that no human being had ever been in space before 1961. To go from “no human being in space” to “walking on the moon” in just eight years is startling. It happened because of a very intense learning process.