Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Headshot of Bill Nye - Updated

What a Day! From Earth to the Moon and Mars

Posted by Bill Nye

21-07-2011 3:02 CDT

Topics: explaining science, Bill Nye, Space Shuttle program

Mission accomplished! It's been thirty great years for the Space Shuttle program. With this venerable space vehicle retired, it's on to the next adventure.

The Shuttle has taken more than 10,400 1,600 tons into orbit, a fantastic legacy, as most of that equipment is still up there helping astronauts do their jobs. But now it's time to move up and on -- outward. We can make new discoveries peering beyond new horizons.

Along with the Shuttle's final landing tonight, or early tomorrow morning, it's good to take a moment and reflect on the first humans to walk on the Earth's Moon. It was 42 years ago today. It changed the world. The Cold War wound down a few turns as a result. It changed all of our expectations about what is possible, what humans can do, and especially what we can do in space exploration. Perhaps we'll go back to the Moon in the next few years. Perhaps we'll go beyond the Moon out into deep space.

Today is also the anniversary of the Viking 1 spacecraft landing on Mars. It sent back striking pictures from the surface of our neighboring world, a place we find so compelling that we return at each orbital opportunity looking for signs of water and life.

If nothing else today, take a moment and think about how far we've come. Humans built flying machines, aircraft, and spacecraft. We steadily developed means to bring images to everyone on Earth that help us all know and appreciate our place in space. One day in the next couple of decades we may discover evidence of living things on Mars. If that turns out to be possible, it will change this world forever. We will know that we were once and certainly still are not alone in the universe. That's quite an accomplishment for a species with such humble planetary beginnings. There is a lot of space in space, and we're part of it all.

See other posts from July 2011


Or read more blog entries about: explaining science, Bill Nye, Space Shuttle program


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Help Us Go Farther

The Planetary Fund

Help us accelerate progress in our four core enterprises: Robotic Space Exploration, Human Space Exploration, Planetary Defense, and The Search for Life.


Featured Images

Structures in the Keeler gap
Daphnis in the Keeler Gap
Mars 2020 rover artist's concept
Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS)
More Images

Featured Video

The Planetary Post - 2016: A Magnificent Year for Space Exploration

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!