In November 1971, we were locked in yet another space race, albeit a quieter one. Americans had already begun to grow bored with the Apollo program, as the final two missions were to be launched in 1972, those primarily being very expensive geology expeditions.
Then Mariner 9 was launched. We were in a race with the USSR to put a spacecraft in orbit around another planet. In November of 1971, we did it. I’m not sure that Americans were by any means excited about it, but they should have been. Just as we must stay excited about our progress yet to come.
Ray Bradbury joined Arthur C. Clarke, Carl Sagan and others at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena to commemorate the mission’s success. Here he reads his poem “If Only We Had Taller Been”, an ode to exploration, and a fitting tribute to his legacy as a writer and dreamer. In full above (with a captivated Sagan included) and excerpted below:
O, Thomas, will a Race one day stand really tall
Across the Void, across the Universe and all?
And, measure out with rocket fire,
At last put Adam’s finger forth
As on the Sistine Ceiling,
And God’s great hand come down the other way
To measure Man and find him Good,
And Gift him with Forever’s Day?
I work for that.
Short man. Large dream. I send my rockets forth
between my ears,
Hoping an inch of Will is worth a pound of years.
Aching to hear a voice cry back along the universal Mall:
We’ve reached Alpha Centauri!
We’re tall, O God, we’re tall!
(via Boing Boing)
Source: Boing Boing