To the Moon and back

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1 August 2019

Students from St Aloysius College.Fifty years after those famous footsteps, the world is still fascinated by the first Moon landing.

Space exploration gives students and teachers the challenge to push the limits of understanding and ask new questions about the universe. At St Aloysius College, North Melbourne, students take part in an annual Space Camp to see the contribution the Moon landing has made to science and technology, and to experience how space exploration continues to fuel scientific investigation. Along with STEM and STEAM in the curriculum, coding electives, and hosting events on women in science and technology, Space Camp is part of the college’s commitment to help young women break new ground.

College principal Mary Farah reflects on the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing and how it helps us to think about life’s big questions.

Last month, it was almost impossible to get away from the many documentaries and articles celebrating the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s Moon landing. For all the ingenuity and sheer brilliance of the Apollo project, the Moon has always been the central character in the story and has fascinated human beings since the very dawn of time.

In the Book of Genesis, we find that God created the Moon on the same day as the Sun and the stars, and the Moon’s purpose was to light the night sky. Ever since, creatures of the Earth have stared in wonder and awe at our nearest celestial neighbour – one of very few sights that every generation of humanity has viewed in the same way. The first human beings, the soldiers of Alexander the Great, the witnesses of Christ himself, those who journeyed on the Crusades, the great scientists of the Renaissance, and everyone in between and since, has gazed at the same side of the Moon, basked in its reflected light and wondered at its composition.

Although the creation of the Moon in Genesis and the Moon landing are separated by millennia, they are also linked. Both Armstrong and Aldrin, and many later astronauts, marvelled at God’s creation and found new faith in their journey to the Moon. A little-known story is that Buzz Aldrin took Communion on the surface of the Moon, the first food and drink consumed by a human on another heavenly body. Of the experience, Aldrin later recounted: ‘I wondered if it might be possible to take communion on the moon, symbolizing the thought that God was revealing Himself there, too, as man reached out into the universe. For there are many of us in the NASA program who do trust that what we are doing is part of God’s eternal plan for man.’

The Moon landing was a pinnacle of human achievement but, as everything in life, it was, more importantly, all part of God’s great plan.

Mary Farah
Principal, St Aloysius College, North Melbourne