FirstStep ~ remembering the Moon landing
20-21 July 1969
In 2007 I was puzzled as to why there was no annual global event to remember the Moon landing.
NASA made a special effort every 5 years, as is to be the case for the 50th in 2019, on 20 July.
For many nations, including Australia, where the Moon landing images were received and streamed to millions of people around the planet, the event happened on 21 July, simply because of the way the time zones fall around the Earth.
Sitting by a campfire in Lauderdale, Tasmania, with the glittering stars overhead, an idea came to mind, to remember the moment.
I saw those grainy images of the Moon landing, and heard those haunting words from the Sea of Tranquillity, “That’s one small step for man: one giant leap for mankind.”
That first step onto another celestial world happened at the same time for all who saw and heard it, in all 24 time zones around the planet, falling over two calendar days.
Just as millions of people around the world experienced that moment at the same time, could we remember the Moon landing at the same moment every year?
For Tasmania in eastern Australia, this was 12:56 pm on 21 July.
For folk in the Americas, the Moon landing fell over a few time zones, on 20 July.
Could such a global event work, to remember the moment each year?
As this was our first step beyond Earth, it appeared logical to call the event First Step, or FirstStep.
I wondered if FirstStep could be followed by a Giant Leap discussion, happening globally, to explore what might be happening next with space exploration.
Anyone could remember FirstStep, and participate, by remembering the moment in their time zone.
Special events could be considered, including exhibitions.
The first FirstStep event was held at 12:56pm on 21 July in the Tasmanian Space Centre, in the old general store on Rosny Hill, and celebrated with an exhibition of news cuttings from the days before, during and following the Moon landing in 1969.
I wondered then, and I wonder now, if FirstStep has the potential to be a significant event for future generations.
Unless we find a faster way to travel to the stars, the Moon landing may be the last time a human foot is first to another world.
As our robots get smarter, they will be out there ahead of us, making those first steps, because they can travel much faster in space.
The Moon landing may mark the last event in traditional human exploration, and mark the dawn of a new era of stellar discovery.
An article on the Moon landing ~
First Step …..
Kim Peart, 7 August 2017, Tasmanian Times
The Tasmanian Space Centre when located in the old general store on Rosny Hill ~ where the first FirstStep event was held ~ 12:56pm 21 July 2007 ~
Remembering the Moon landing in Second Life ~
FirstStep remembered in the news ~https://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/virtual-footprint-to-land-on-moon/1953480/
Kim Peart hosted the commemoration at his second home in the fascinating virtual world Second Life.
The setting for the party was his virtual house, which is set among the ruins of a place called Nautilus, with a Greek temple nearby in homage to NASA's Apollo space program, complete with a virtual replica of the lunar landing module.
Mr Peart's avatar - his online persona - also donned a space suit for the celebration.
"It's great for saving on carbon credits, you don't have to fly there, you just go online and it's quick," he said of the international event.
Computer users from around the world attended the virtual function from the comfort of their own time zones - just like when they watched the actual moon landing in 1969.
Mr Peart said the global significance of the moon landing at 12.56pm AEST on July 21, 1969 - and "whatever the hour and day is in all other time zones" - could not be underestimated.
It was the first time that millions of people around the world all stopped at the very same moment to watch the same event.
"We call this event First Step, when people around the world - in all 24 time zones - can stop to remember the day our Earth stood still for that momentous moment when Neil Armstrong said those haunting words, 'That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind'," Mr Peart said.
He hopes the annual commemoration of that moment can grow to become a global event where conflict and war are pushed aside to spend time recognising mankind.
"Next year, we hope to have something happening in real life - a community event - as well as something in the virtual world.
"When we learn to fly among the stars and live in space settlements scattered across the solar system, could remembering our first step beyond Earth become a unique event that unites the human family?"