Neil deGrasse Tyson: On the first moon landing.


Uploaded by Theraot on 28.07.2012

Transcript:
I was a nine year old kid in 1960. I Had this big afro, you know.
[laughing] And...
Visiting some relatives of a friend of mine in virginia, it was in virginia.
There was this small black and white tv and there were the first fuzzy images
of neil armstrong taking his first steps on the moon.
The moon! You know. The moon is up there, but... ¿where does?
¿how does he? you know... He goes trough this sort of existencial
¿are they really up there? Cuz you can see the moon, it is not something hidden
You don't need any special apparatus to know
that the moon is up there, it's there! And I remember thinking distinctly.
Oh, first moon landing! Be the beginning of a whole new era
And I'm sure I was not alone with those thoughts.
But because I was certain, as was everyone else that it was the beginning
of an era... I didn't -
I, I did not jump for joy or do sumersaults. I just said: it is the beginning!
So, there we were, anticipating the moon landing, then you watch the moon landing,
and then you reflect on the moon landing, and as time moved on...
it never kept happening. It was just there, now residing on the past.
And had I known... that our first steps on the moon
would esentially be our last steps on the moon,
I would've... done sumersaults. [laughing]
I would have said: oh my gosh! this is a unique moment in the history of
our species. never to happen again! let me revel and celebrate
and pop champagne corks. I would have felt differently,
had I known that that was the beginning of the end,
rather that the beginning of the beginning. And, I think it's a big regret
that when I reflect on that era and, I look how hopeful people were about
our future in space in retrospect, it's clear as day
that there is a disconnect between why we are going to space
and, why people thought we were going to space. We are going to space -
We are going to space because we were at war with the soviet union.
War drives the flow of money like no other force of nature.
and it cost a lot of money to go to the moon. So, in that regard, it kinda helped that we
were at war with the soviet union. It enabled congress to write checks that they
wouldn't otherwise have written, So what happens? We beat the soviet union
to the moon Checks stop getting written. [laughing]
Mars gets farther away, Mars resides, which was the natural next step,
if it was - if exploration was just the natural thing that we did
as americans we would have been on mars by the early 1980's.
And, it became clear in retrospect that without the military driver, that was
never gonna happen. What I find remarkable about that time period
is that we went to the moon which was one of the most hopeful -
What I like of that time period is that - Consider
that in the 1960's the civil rights movement was in full swing,
So, I and my family, we were basically disenfranchised in many ways
that other had never had the occasion to think about. Because they just go on in life. Ok?
We were in war in southeast asia. The 1960's was probably the most turbulent
decade in the american history since the civil war of the 1860's.
And so, in that decade we embark upon the greatest epic adventure the species has
ever undertaken and the juxtaposition of those two
in my mind and my heart is a remarkable - It's a remarkable thing.
The fact that in 1968 the first mission to leave lower-earth orbit
that's the apollo 8 that's a forgotten mission
they didn't land on the moon but they left earth. No-one ever left earth before.
they left earth and they turn their camera back towards her.
and for the first time there it was: earth. No national boundaries drawn.
no sense or awareness that there were war in nations down there.
Just this beautiful blue marble ball at drift in space.
Why do we celebrate the Saturn V rocket? the mightiest rocket ever launched.
The rocket that took humans to the moon. we celebrate as much as we do
because we haven't done anything better than it since.
Had we done better things better than it since we would have dust it off, put it on a corner
on a museum as if it was an acute: look how they got to
the moon back then. Whatever is the metric of the advance of technology
as a means of getting us to the space, it hasn't happened since the Saturn V rocket
and it was 40 years ago. And that is an embarrassment to us like a
nation and so, yeah, we should celebrate.
No taking away from that achievement. But at some point you should take pause and say:
how come we I'm not celebrating something else
that should've happened since then.
I think that's where your emotions should be placed.
Yeah, cook the cake and enjoy the champagne. [laughing]
But at the end of the day ask yourself: hmm.. what does this mean?
What does this mean for america? What does this mean for exploration?
That we are here on this speck we call earth the day you stop that enterprise,
I'd fear for the future of the species. Because it's that which distinguishes human
from all other animals. That we explore and understand what it is
we are doing while we are at it. And expand our place in the cosmos.
if that stops, you know, I don't wanna life in those times.
Put me back in another time. or put me in the future when people re-learn
what exploration is all about. or dare I say, allow me to look over the shoulder
in other countries because, other countries are doing that now.
We are gonna stand on our shores and say: Hey! Take us with you! [laughing]
you are going to mars. You know, that's not america. That's not the
america (in which) I grew up in. It's not the America everyone since wants.
That is some other kind of America.