I'd be the first to admit that I'm not the most adventurous soul in the world. Oh sure, I've got a never ending curiosity that won't leave me alone until it's fed. However, I'm more likely to read or watch a movie about something foreign to me than sign up for a plane ticket or a slow boat to China. Years ago, I guess I would've played the role of the dependable one, staying put to keep the home fires burning.
And yet, the moon has always fascinated me.
Nope, NASA doesn't have to worry about me asking to hitch a ride. As much as I've written about my fascination with space, I'm perfectly content to stare up into the night sky and smile at the moon. It's like an old friend. A glowing reminder of my childhood when brave men climbed aboard the world's largest firecracker to speed into the unknown. Looking up at a full moon, I still feel that childlike awe that men actually walked on it's surface.
And now I own a piece of that history.
Yes, it is possibly the geekiest thing I've ever done. But sometimes in life, you have to do something for yourself...even if it makes people shake their head and mutter when they look your way. I always secretly loved the fact that I was 11 years old when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. I recently discovered that NASA had issued a 40th anniversary commemorative medallion, with the view from the surface of the moon, facing Earth rise. So I got one. For the kid in me, who's still very much alive. The front states "Celebrate Apollo. Exploring the Moon. Discovering Earth." And yet it is the reverse side, the one featuring the NASA logo over an image of the moon, which sent me to heavenly geekdom.
"This medallion contains metal flown to the moon on Apollo missions."
That's right, carefully encased in plastic, my medallion has metal from one of the spaceships that landed on the moon.
There is no confirmation as to which of the Apollo spacecraft it might be from, but there were only 7 which landed. Ironically, the last book I read about the moon was this summer, by astronaut Gene Cernan entitled "The Last Man on the Moon".
It doesn't matter to me WHICH astronaut guided my little piece of history to the moon and back. It went there...and came back! I can only admit to a childlike thrill to physically touch a symbol which was able, if for only one small moment, to unite all mankind.