The single observation I would offer for your consideration is that some things are beyond your control. You can lose your health to illness or accident. You can lose your wealth to all manner of unpredictable sources. What are not easily stolen from you without your cooperation are your principles and your values. They are your most important possessions and, if carefully selected and nurtured, will well serve you and your fellow man.
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Knowledge is fundamental to all human achievements and progress. It is both the key and the quest that advances mankind. The search for knowledge is what brought men to the moon; but it took knowledge already acquired to make it possible to get there. How we use the knowledge we gain determines our progress on earth, in space or on the moon. Your library is a storehouse for mind and spirit. Use it well." [Letters of Note; Troy (MI, USA) Public Library, 1971]
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Space has not changed but technology has, in many cases, improved dramatically. A good example is digital technology where today's cell phones are far more powerful than the computers on the Apollo Command Module and Lunar Module that we used to navigate to the moon and operate all the spacecraft control systems.
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We would like to give special thanks to all those Americans who built the spacecraft; who did the construction, design, the tests, and put their hearts and all their abilities into those craft. To those people tonight, we give a special thank you, and to all the other people that are listening and watching tonight, God bless you. Good night from Apollo 11.
I have been in relatively high-risk businesses all of my adult life. Few of the others, however, had the possibility of direct gains in knowledge which this one had. I have confidence in the equipment, the planning, the training. I suspect that on a risk-gain ratio, this project would compare very, very favorably with those to which I've been accustomed on the past 20 years.
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I'm substantially concerned about the policy directions of the space agency. We have a situation in the U.S. where the White House and Congress are at odds over what the future direction should be. They're sort of playing a game and NASA is the shuttlecock that they're hitting back and forth.
The exciting part for me, as a pilot, was the landing on the moon. That was the time that we had achieved the national goal of putting Americans on the moon. The landing approach was, by far, the most difficult and challenging part of the flight. Walking on the lunar surface was very interesting, but it was something we looked on as reasonably safe and predictable. So the feeling of elation accompanied the landing rather than the walking.
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The [Moon] surface is fine and powdery. I can kick it up loosely with my toe. It does adhere in fine layers like powdered charcoal to the sole and sides of my boots. I only go in a small fraction of an inch, maybe an eighth of an inch, but I can see the footprints of my boots and the treads in the fine sandy particles.
Perhaps it won't matter, in the end, which country is the sower of the seed of exploration. The importance will be in the growth of the new plant of progress and in the fruits it will bear. These fruits will be a new breed of the human species, a human with new views, new vigor, new resiliency, and a new view of the human purpose. The plant: the tree of human destiny.
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