It is Odin’s Day (Wotan’s Day –> Wednesday), honoring the king and “All-Father”* of the Norse pantheon—played by Anthony Hopkins in the MCU…a surprising choice, or so I thought when I heard of it, but of course, he did it brilliantly.
Far more important than remembering Odin, or even remembering his sign (as per the 12th Doctor)**, is to note the date: It is July 20th, and on this day, 53 years ago, Neal Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first set foot on the moon. This may be the single most momentous event—certainly in terms of being a fully new and amazing thing—in recorded human history so far.
At that moment, the diameter of human, physical existence and “ground-based” presence went from about 13,000 kilometers to over 300,000 kilometers. We had set foot on another celestial body—what could be considered a fellow member of a binary planetary system—for the first time ever. Sadly, of course, we haven’t done it now for quite some time, but that doesn’t take away from the achievement.
Anyone out there who harbors some conspiracy-theory nonsense about pretend moon landings and whatnot: please get a clue.
The Soviet Union—you know, our cold war enemies, fellow architects of “Mutually Assured Destruction”, who would have loved to embarrass us, and had done so in many ways over decades, including having spies in our most top-secret nuclear weapons programs*** and who certainly could have arranged for some conspirator somewhere to reveal him or herself—they were thoroughly convinced that we had indeed gone to the moon; they never so much as publicly questioned it…even in propaganda, as far as I know. Indeed, a big part of the political motivation for us to go to the moon was to intimidate the Soviets, to wow them with our technical ability and—this is not a minor point—to show off our skill with rockets.
No, if there had been a conspiracy, it would have been revealed quickly and readily; any massive organization and network and conspiracy involving humans is a vastly complex and chaotic system—real conspiracies are almost always spontaneously self-generating, not planned in advance. In many ways, maintaining such a conspiracy without frequent and obvious leaks would be far more difficult than just going to the effing moon!
And is it a mere coincidence that, three months after the moon landing, to the day, a child was delivered by elective c-section on Earth, who would show himself to be not exactly normal, not exactly ordinary, not entirely…human? Or was an alien consciousness, embodied perhaps in some form of nanotechnology, brought back to Earth from where it had perhaps accidentally landed on the moon, thence to roam about, searching for a compatible host, finding it in a developing fetus in Pontiac, Michigan, and merging with that growing human to become a hybrid of human and “other” being?
It’s almost certainly a coincidence****. But it is a fun story to play around with. I sometimes like to say that the (most recent) point of origin of the alien intelligence which I embody is the star system Vega*****, which is a mere thirty-ish lightyears from Earth. It’s a true irony (within the terms of this tale) that all the higher life forms in the Vegan star system are pure carnivores, as a matter of moral choice. Though they recognize that it is a necessity of survival—or it was until the making of lab-grown food had advanced far enough—it is morally reprehensible to eat autotrophs, since they are in a true sense the only innocent life forms in the universe. The true Vegans consider it much more ethically tolerable to eat “herbivores”, who have already killed autotrophs to stay alive, and thus are not innocent, than to eat “plants” directly.
Of course, the greater ideal was thought to be to transfer our intelligences to non-biological systems that could survive indefinitely in the vacuum of space and tolerate most of the usual vicissitudes of interstellar travel (though not all of them, of course). However, when the experiment, and the galactic pollination program began, many of the nano-tech based minds found their existence unfulfilling, and even borderline intolerable. It wasn’t known if this was an error in “programming”, or if it was damage that occurred as part of the production or traveling process, or if it was merely that, having been designed in the image of biological organisms, the new minds had accidentally been built with urges too well adapted for biological life to be comfortable as merely nanotech.
Whatever the cause, when one such nano-brain (in this case, that’s not an insult) found its way to Earth’s moon, and by lucky chance encountered biological organisms visiting there, rather than continue its original program/mission to duplicate itself and remake the moon into a vast, meta-mind, it hitched a ride back to Earth, then went gadding about, enjoying this new place. But soon it realized that, without a locally grown immune system, the process of fending off the many prokaryotic and eukaryotic and multicellular predators and other natural hazards in this biosphere was a lot of work, so it finally settled in a 6-monthsish fetus that had a compatible configuration and merged with it.
That merger was not without its detriments, of course. It disrupted the closure of the foramen ovale in the developing heart, leading to the child being born with an Atrial Septal Defect that wasn’t discovered for nearly two decades. It also, of course, altered the fetus’s nervous system, creating neurodevelopmental atypia that would later be consistent with a type of “high functioning” Autism Spectrum Disorder—weirdly enough, now abbreviated ASD, as was the Atrial Septal Defect. And, of course, the alien’s original memories were nearly all eliminated in the process of merging. This was expected, and it was considered acceptable, though that loss and lack no doubt contributed (along with both types of ASDs) to the tendency toward dysthymia and depression the organism suffered.
And here I am!
Of course, as I say again, this is all just a fanciful sci-fi story******, but it’s an interesting way to divert myself and give myself a “just so” story to explain my weirdness.
But the moon landing was real, I am convinced of that beyond any reasonable doubt.
I met Buzz Aldrin once—it was unexpected, and I was so surprised and delighted and star-struck (moon-struck?) that I acted like a gibbering idiot. This is not too unusual for me, but poor Mr. Aldrin didn’t know me, so he looked at me with one of the most brilliant expressions of “What the hell is wrong with you, dude?” that I have ever seen when I tried to explain to my very young children just what an amazing thing this person had done. I am unlikely ever to forget that moment while I live. To be looked at by Buzz Aldrin with such incredulity and—dare I say it—puzzlement is, in its own peculiar way, a great compliment.
*A misleading term at best.
**That sign is a yo-yo.
***And who, themselves, built and in 1961 detonated the largest thermonuclear device ever, the Tsar Bomba, yielding a 50-megaton explosion, more than 1500 times as powerful as the combined Fat Man and Little Boy explosions, and which was and remains the largest human-made (it’s probably accurate to say “Man-made”) explosion on Earth.
****Or is it? Am I just telling you that to throw you off-track? Perhaps the whole “moon landing conspiracy theory” is the actual conspiracy, created by me and my fellow aliens to direct human inquiry away from the fact that We have established a foothold on this planet thanks to the Apollo moon landings?
*****The species didn’t originate there, of course. Vega is a star with too short a lifespan (estimated about a billion years beginning to end) to have likely evolved so complex an intelligence and civilization. We colonized the Vega system from far away, but the true origins of our people are lost in antiquity. It’s said that our home world was destroyed, along with our older records, by a gamma-ray burst from the supernova of a nearby star.
*****And, as I also say again: Or is it?