Did we really land on the Moon?
Recently we were following this story of an attempt to send a new unmanned lander to the Moon (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-67929439). Unfortunately, a technical fault led to a fuel leak which meant the mission wasn’t going to be able to land the payload on the Moon this time round. It prompted us to spend a moment reflecting on the question: ‘Did we really land on the Moon in 1969?
Thinking about conspiracy theories – no shortage of those when it comes to the Bible and religion too.
Of course, this is another opportunity for conspiracy theorists, who believe that the Moon landings were faked (though there are photos of the Apollo landing sites taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter – https://www.lroc.asu.edu/featured_sites/#ApolloLandingSites – conspiracists would of course say these are fakes too).
Why so difficult to get to the Moon today, if it was so ‘easy’ back in 1969?
There is no doublt that does seem to be proving more difficult to properly get out of earth’s orbit, let alone get to the Moon today rather than in the 1960’s – even with all the advancement in technology – and despite Elon Musk and a bunch of companies all working on ways to get back to the Moon. So how did they do it in 1969… and several times thereafter until 1972? This is just a thought for the day, an opportunity to pause a moment and consider God’s creation – the universe and the earth and our place in it.
We still believe they did it in ’69, what about you?
So, did we really land on the Moon? We think they did it, but with an enormous amount of good fortune and a lot of very inefficient but simpler technology that was actually less complicated and less likely to go wrong than the newer experimental technologies of today. There was a lot of hard work alongside the darker side of perhaps stealing secrets from other nations – we may never know the full truth. Of course, knowing the truth brings power and responsibility in the world.
Either way it is a mind-blowing thought to understand just how many things had to come together for man to step out onto the surface of the Moon for the first time. Some may say it was a miracle that we made it at all – and, of course, it wasn’t without much heartache along the way especially in the early days – and as space travel has developed further – but, sadly, we know as Christians we live in an imperfect world tainted by greed, money, corruption and the search to be better and proud. We pause to take time to consider and reflect on the true human cost involved in the space race.
The financial cost – possibly one of the biggest reasons we’ve not been back. Let’s not forget the Bible has a lot to say about money!
One of the reasons why we may not have returned to the Moon in the intervening years is money – this is perhaps one of the bigger reasons why no-one has tried to go back until now. Apparently, the United States spent $25.8 billion on Project Apollo between 1960 and 1973, or approximately $257 billion when adjusted for inflation to 2020 dollars (source: The Planetary Society). After the initial excitement of the first Moon landing interest by the general public at the time dropped off.
A universe view – so near, yet so far
Also, to put this into a biblical perspective, the Moon is approximately 384,400 km (source: NASA Space Place) away, and it is a large object in the night’s sky that we know is there – we can see it. Jupiter – which we can see fairly well with powerful telescopes is 685,796,691 km away (source: The Sky Live).
Fancy a road trip to Jupiter? The wonder of the size of the universe
If there was nothing stopping us from getting to Jupiter – except for just little things like things like gravity and lack of anything much in space like air, the need to pack more than 8 hours worth of snacks and munchies and the need for ‘one or two’ additional comfort breaks – agreed, it would take quite a while to get there depending on how fast you were travelling, but you could still reach Jupiter in an achievable time-frame.
The thing is, just the nearest one star to us in our galaxy is 40,208,000,000,000 km away – and that is a very long way let alone if you actually intend on doing a round-trip! Science fiction takes over at this point, and your guess is as good as mine in terms of understanding and traversing the wider visible universe.
Merely interesting, but pointless!
By this point, it becomes merely interesting to ponder the endless possibilities – such as saving humankind, limitless supplies of environmentally safe fuels, unknown new treasures – even, for some, the notion that in such a vast, limitless expanse there ought to be other ‘life Jim, but not as we know it’ (but that depends on your Biblical viewpoint. Many Christians believe that the earth is the only place in the entire universe where we and the animals exist and there is no planet or life elsewhere like earth – everything else is there to simply remind us when we look up how awesome God and his creation is).
So for a large number of Christians, life is unique to our planet, and you won’t find it anywhere else. To that end, perhaps with regards to the question ‘Did we really land on the Moon?’ it would be helpful to have a conclusive answer – without any doubt.
Whatever is true, this always remains…
In the end, perhaps you have already made up your mind, but there are even bigger truths to grasp and accept first without a doubt… the The Pale Blue Dot (the name given to a photograph of Earth taken Feb. 14, 1990, by NASA’s Voyager 1 at a distance of 3.7 billion miles), uniquely created by God, as Christians believe, and as it says right at the beginning of the Bible, is our home.
It always has been and always will be no matter where we go and what we do from here.
We also – each uniquely created by God – should never lose sight of the fact that we have all been given the responsibility first and foremost to look after our ‘pale blue dot’ and everyone on it.
Next time you look up to the stars, or you point a planet finding app on your phone up to the heavens to find Jupiter, be reminded of the place we have in the universe – our pale blue dot that has all we need (if we choose to look after it properly), and that we call home. We are reminded of the most profound very first 10 words of the Bible: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ (Genesis 1:1).
Further reading and reflection on the subject ‘Did we really land on the moon?’
An answer to our question from Answers in Genesis (Answers in Genesis)
What does the Bible say about the Moon? (Bible Society)
Science alone wouldn’t have put man on the Moon. We mustn’t forget the ket role of faith (The Telegraph Newspaper)
One giant … lie? Why so many people still think the moon landings were faked (The Guardian Newspaper)
Religion in space (Wikipedia)
‘Huge moment for the church’ – Christians respond to NASA’s discovery hinting at signs of alien life (Premier Christian News)
The Beginning of All Things: Modern Perspective from Lemaître to Hawking (The Faraday Institute)
Should Christians Support Space Exploration? (Answers in Genesis)
Space, Science and Scripture (Christianity Today)
Christians in space: Taking the creation mandate to the stars (Focus on the Family Canada)
Why did we stop going to the Moon? (Royal Museums Greenwich)