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Words about words, brands, names and naming, and the creative process.

#sparkchamber 072219 — Moonlanding 50th

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Fifty years ago, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped foot onto the surface of the moon, while astronaut Michael Collins orbited above, an achievement we honor in #sparkchamber today. That historic and remarkable moment represented the fulfillment of a challenge set by John F. Kennedy at a speech in May 1961. Delivered one month after the Soviet Union sent the first human to space with the orbital flight of Yuri Gagarin, “we choose to go to the moon” was a bold move in the ongoing Space Race between the two Cold-War rivals.

“We choose to go to the moon [and other “impossible” things] not because they are easy, but because they are hard,” was an understatement for the ages. The scientific and mathematical advancement, and technological and mechanical innovation required was staggering — creative thinking and rigorous application on a grueling schedule for the better part of a decade.

And toward what end? Said Kennedy, “because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills; because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.” A new frontier. The pioneer spirit of American folklore. Urgency, destiny, freedom. Imagination. Commitment, dedication. A shared vision of a hopeful future.

When Neil Armstrong climbed down to the lunar surface, he spoke the now iconic words, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Looking back, he reflected on his choice of words. “I thought, well, when I step off it’s just going to be a little step — a step from there down to there — but then I thought about all those 400,000 people who had given me the opportunity to make that step and thought it’s going to be a big something for all those folks and, indeed for a lot of others that weren't even involved in the project, so it was kind of a simple correlation.” And, as Walter Cronkite remarked in his sign-off that fateful eve, “The least of us is improved by the things done by the best of us. Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins are the best of us, and they’ve led us further and higher than we ever imagined we were likely to go.”

In these big moments, we can feel that connection in our deepest core. Each and every, together we are one. We breathe the same air and pump the same blood through our bodies. We want the very best for our families, and our children’s families.

While the others were on the moon’s surface and Michael Collins was alone in orbit, he was offered a unique perspective of planet Earth: “I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of, let’s say 100,000 miles, their outlook would be fundamentally changed. The all-important border would be invisible, that noisy argument suddenly silenced.”

Here’s to that.


1.] Where do ideas come from?

Your mind is like a parachute: If it isn’t open, it doesn’t work.

— Buzz Aldrin

2.] What is the itch you are scratching?

I think we’re going to the moon because it’s in the nature of the human being to face challenges. It’s by the nature of his deep inner soul … we’re required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream.

— Neil Armstrong

The urge to explore has propelled evolution since the first water creatures reconnoitered the land. Like all living systems, cultures cannot remain static; they evolve or decline. They explore or expire.

— Buzz Aldrin

3.] Early bird or night owl, tortoise or hare?

One truth I have discovered for sure: When you believe that all things are possible and you are willing to work hard to accomplish your goals, you can achieve the next “impossible” dream. No dream is too high!

— Buzz Aldrin

Pilots take no special joy in walking: pilots like flying. Pilots generally take pride in a good landing, not in getting out of the vehicle.

— Neil Armstrong

4.] How do you know when you are done?

I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life. I am it. If a count were taken, the score would be three billion plus two over on the other side of the moon, and one plus God knows what on this side.

— Michael Collins on orbiting the moon alone

The important achievement of Apollo was demonstrating that humanity is not forever chained to this planet and our visions go rather further than that and our opportunities are unlimited.

— Neil Armstrong

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