Day 912, “One Small Step…” (1)
Just fifty years ago today, a man walked on the moon.
A god to ancient peoples, it is cratered and rock strewn.
“…One giant leap for (all) mankind,” we heard Neil Armstrong say.
Compared to Mars and then the stars, “…one small step…” on the way.
Our scientific prowess got us there. Can we go back?
It won’t be soon; for science first must weather an attack.
We Homos strive to understand. (The “sapiens” means “wise.”)
For space, vaccines, and evolution are one enterprise.
But there are those who cling to faith and what the ancients said.
The sun and moon and planets were their gods but they’re long dead.
The natural world’s best understood by science, we have learned,
Though, just four hundred years ago, some scientists were burned. (2)
Copernicus first showed that heliocentricity
Explained the planets’ motions, back in 1453.
“That’s heresy!” cried Pope and Cardinals, however, meanwhile,
Copernicus died that same year, so he did not stand trial.
Then, Galileo saw the moon through his first telescope,
(About the time that Leeuwenhoek made his first microscope.)
When Galileo saw that craters scarred the lunar face,
Then Aristotle and the Church slipped from their lordly place.
The moon was first a god, then satellite that caused the tides.
(Waystation to the planets where we’ll see if life abides?)
When Newton showed its orbit made the oceans ebb and flow,
He formulated gravity, three hundred years ago.
Now, with our footprints on the moon, how far can mankind reach?
We know the universe is nothing like what preachers preach.
We’ve found four thousand planets and we wonder, “Can we go?”
We started with that “…one small step…” just fifty years ago.
(1) “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” Neil Armstrong, July 24, 1969. Tranquility Base on the moon.
(2) Giordano Bruno, a priest, who suggested, among other things that the stars could be suns like ours with planets like ours, was burned at the stake in Rome in 1600.