Apollo 11 at 32 -and Viking at 25 – Comments From Star Trek’s Scenic Art Supervisor

By SpaceRef Editor
July 20, 2001
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By Michael Okuda, Scenic Art Supervisor, “Star Trek”, Paramount Pictures, Los Angeles, CA

Friday, July 20, 2001 is the 32nd anniversary of humankind’s first
footsteps on another world.

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin
piloted the lunar module “Eagle” to a landing on the surface of the moon. A
short time later, Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon.
Armstrong stepped onto the dusty surface of the Sea of Tranquility, declaring
it to be “One small step for [a] man,” but “one giant leap for mankind.”

The Apollo 11 lunar landing was the culmination of nearly a decade of
extraordinary effort by hundreds of thousands of people across the United
States and around the world. President John F. Kennedy, whose vision
inspired the United States to undertake this project, noted that “we set sail
on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights
to be won.” Kennedy added that these rights “must be won and used for the
progress of all people.” Project Apollo is regarded by many as humanity’s
greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century. Although borne from
the Cold War of the early 1960s, the Apollo 11 landing craft carried a
plaque, signed by the crew, proclaiming that “We came in peace for all

Thirty-two years after Armstrong’s pioneering steps, humanity’s exploration
of space continues with the construction of the International Space Station
Alpha in Earth orbit, and the robotic exploration of planets including Mars,
Jupiter, and Saturn. The Space Shuttle, which plays a crucial role in the
assembly and operation of the space station, is the direct technological
descendent of Apollo’s Saturn boosters. Communications satellites are now a
multibillion dollar a year industry, and military surveillance satellites
have proven to be of vital importance in reducing global tensions. Earth
observation satellites provide valuable climate, resource, and weather
prediction information, while the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra
X-Ray Observatory explore the deepest reaches of the cosmos.

Besides being the 32nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, today is also
the 25th anniversary of the first Viking landing on Mars. President George
W. Bush made a statement congratulating NASA on the anniversary. Whatever your
politics, this might be a good occasion to send a brief note to the president
to ask for his support for Mars exploration, both robotic and human.

The president’s e-mail address is president@whitehouse.gov

Here is the note that I sent. Let me urge you to write a short note of your

Dear Mr. President:

I read with great satisfaction your remarks to NASA on the occasion of the
25th anniversary of the Viking probe’s landing on the planet Mars. I am
pleased at your recognition of the value of America’s leadership in space
achievement, and in particular, of our efforts to explore the Red Planet.

Mr. President, let me urge you to allow NASA to continue to build on the
extraordinary accomplishments of the past by supporting our country’s efforts
in space. In particular, please urge NASA to step up its efforts to both
explore Mars with robotic probes, as well as to actively lay the groundwork
for an eventual human expedition to that distant frontier.

Thank you very much.

SpaceRef staff editor.