SkyWatch: magnificent memories of moon missions

When we see these landing sites of men from Earth on the moon they encompass only two-and-a-half years, but it was a time of exploration never seen before nor since from 1969 to 1972.

President JF Kennedy in 1962 made the bold prediction of a landing on the moon and the industrial might of the United States and technicians from around the world responded.

Who can forget when six hundred million people around the world watched as Neil Armstrong stepped onto the alien regolith and his partner Buzz Aldrin called it “magnificent isolation”.

Then followed other landings and explorations on various lunar sites.

Remember when an explosion blew out half the side of Apollo 13 and the crew limped back home by bravery and ingenuity.

Remember when the motorised rovers sped across the airless and low gravity moon. Men from Earth in bulky space suits bunny-hopped across the moon’s dusty surface.

Professor Ricardo Vaz Tolentino has given us a magnificent moon portrait and refreshed the memories of those far off days when mankind faced the challenge and was successful.

DRONES TAKE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM TO NEW LEVEL

In a cool dark room in the Arizona desert young US Air Force personnel sit and control the operations of highly sophisticated drone aircraft half a world away in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

These deadly craft target alleged and proven enemies of the US and from those invisibly high aircraft a smart missile is launched to eliminate an enemy and associates thousands of metres below.

This then is the dirty war without respect for borders or sovereignty.

In the days of the Roman empire two thousand years ago the death of a Roman citizen or soldier caused retaliation tenfold. 

That empire vanished in its continuous wars and so it is said will the US. But what does the deaths of Taliban operators in Pakistan do to the young air force personnel charged with the delivery of death?

One such controller is quoted as saying: “People think we’re sitting here with joysticks playing a video game, but that’s simply not true. 

"These are real situations and real life weapons systems. Once you launch a weapon, you can’t hit a replay button to bring people back to life.”

To think the US has descended from the technological high point of the Apollo moon landings to murder by stealth is alarming.

Why is the world locked in such crazy religious wars that allow people to condone and use this evil measure?

Is there an answer? And what does it do long term to the lethal operators?

TO THE MOON AND BACK: The Apollo journey to the moon.  Picture Credit: Prof Vaz Tolentino

TO THE MOON AND BACK: The Apollo journey to the moon. Picture Credit: Prof Vaz Tolentino

DRONING ON: A cruel and secret war: An MQ-9 Reaper drone at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.	 Credit: US Air Force photo/Lance Cheung

DRONING ON: A cruel and secret war: An MQ-9 Reaper drone at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. Credit: US Air Force photo/Lance Cheung

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