It’s time to start exploring

Since the return of the Apollo 14 mission, no one has reached the Moon. Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, were the first to step from their shuttle to walk and jump across the surface of our very own natural satellite on July 20th 1969.

I was very sad to hear that Neil Armstrong has died today, at the age of 82. He was somewhat of a hero, with over 500 million TV viewers in awe as they watched him take the first steps onto the Moon.

It occurred to me that since 1972, not a single human has returned to the moon, or travelled to our other nearest neighbours in the solar system. There may be many complicated reasons for this, well beyond my understanding, but nevertheless, I think this is quite sad.

But even though humans haven’t travelled any further, we have managed to invent some amazing probes, rovers and satellites that have reached the very outer edges of our solar system. And only a few weeks ago, on August 6th 2012 did Curiosity, a rover carrying the Mars Space Laboratory reach it’s final destination, the Gale Crater on the Red Planet.

I think this is a pretty awesome achievement. When I was watching the live broadcast of the NASA team as they were landing the probe, I felt part of something, that at the time I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I know that sounds cheesy, but it was as if science-fiction was coming true, for me anyway. I wasn’t alive when Armstrong landed on the Moon, so I wasn’t there to soak up the atmosphere that it created. This time, even though I wasn’t actually in that control room, I could feel the relief, amazement and excitement as the announcement came that Curiosity had landed safely on Mars. It was pretty incredible.

Curiosity is a part of human nature, it is what has driven us to explore the deepest parts of our oceans and the furthest reaches of our solar system. I think that is pretty awesome.

I am a very curious person, so it saddens me that I haven’t seen a whole lot of this world. I have had the opportunity to travel to some very nice places whilst I was swimming, but I didn’t get the chance to explore them. I’ve also been on some great family holidays, but compared to Mr Armstrong, I have seen nothing yet. So I think that is what I want to do some more exploring; there is so much to see, to explore, to learn.

Although our Earth may seen fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, it’s still big to me, with many adventures waiting to be had. So my adventures may not take me to the Moon, or (if it happens) to Mars. I think I will start a little closer to home and explore our own humble planet Earth first, and see where that takes me.

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