imp source For century upon century, to explore the Moon was considered the dream of the addle-brained or the foolhardy. Only divine beings or supermen could withstand the rigors and distance of such a journey. But then, early in the twentieth century, mortal humans went aloft on mechanical wings, defying gravity and redefining the realm of possibility. For ever after, the Moon became a goal within the grasp of those on Earth: for if man could build a machine to make him fly, he would eventually build one to take him to the Moon. When and how and who was only a matter of time.
From December of 1968 to December of 1972, twenty-four representatives of the human race voyaged to the Moon, and half as many walked upon its surface. In all, nine voyages across the quarter-million mile distance from Earthly safety to Lunar emptiness, each one of them dangerous and expensive. The requirements to make the voyage a reality were the qualities that make humankind unique: our desire to achieve, our wear-with-all and perseverance, our willingness to sacrifice time, energy, and even life in the long labor needed to solve the problems one by one over the course of the endeavor. Most important of all was humankind’s tendency to imagine things that are not possible. Imagining that it could be done was the very first step taken in the journey from the Earth to the Moon.