I wasn’t around for the moon landing, which makes sense considering it was 45 years ago and my mother was barely four. And despite my absence during the landing, in a way I have grown up with the influence of the event. People often reference to the landing as something that inspired them, gave them hope and made them realise that nothing is impossible. It was a first that paved the way for so many other firsts. The thing is, from an emotional and logical point of view I understand this sentiment but it has always been hard for me to relate to it. Make no mistake, I was (and am) awed at the moon landing but the infectious elation seems to pass me by.
Well until the landing of Philae on the comet 67P. I’ll be honest, my interest in space has always been in passing mostly because the physics of it is incomprehensible to me (which I feel I should rectify with more astronomy-based readings). That being said I livestreamed (as live as you get with approximately 29 min delay) the landing and shared the excitement. After hearing of the successful landing all I could think was “We landed on a comet 4 billion miles away, nothing is impossible”. And that’s when it hit me. The sense of accomplishment for being part of human race that did this is a wonderful thing. I recall feeling this strong desire to go into the lab and just do things despite the outcome and that for me is what science is about, what living is about.
So, like I said in the beginning I wasn’t around for the moon landing, but I sure as hell can now relate to what so many felt.
If you are interested this is a good article to get started on the Rosetta Project by ESA.