‘Small step’ was huge for humanity
Jul 17 2009 by Chris Ward, The Journal
MAN’S exploration of the moon has brought everyday benefits and helped us better understand our origins, according to experts at Durham University.
Monday sees the 40th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing when Neil Armstrong took his famous “small step”.
Professor Martin Ward, head of physics at Durham University, and a former consultant to the European Space Agency, said: “Apart from the sheer wonder of seeing on live TV grainy images of man on the moon, many people might ask ‘what has the moon ever done for us?’.
“There are superficial justifications for visiting our nearest neighbour, one being that space technology saw the advent of non-stick frying pans. However, the Apollo programme also pushed forward computer technology and the miniaturisation of electronics which benefit our lives today. The deepest justification for visiting the moon, though, is that many astronomers now believe it may have played a crucial role in the evolution of life on Earth.
“Information gained from moon rock samples, and experiments set up on the lunar surface, have given us new insights into the make-up and evolution of the moon and hence our own origins.”