Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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20

Jul

2019

Moon race changed our view of earth

Author: Jim Taylor

Fifty years ago today, Neil Armstrong did something that no human being had ever done before. He stood on the moon. 

            And this coming Friday, James Lovelock will celebrate his 100thbirthday. 

            There’s a connection between the two events. 

            I remember watching the  moon landing, July 20, 1969. Official records say it happened at 10:56 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. I know our family clustered around a TV set, peering at a snowstorm of grainy black-and-white images. So we must have let our children stay up late to watch history being made.

 

           James Lovelock turned 50, six days after the moon landing. 

            NASA did not plan that coincidence, although Lovelock was working for NASA in those days, developing chemical tests that NASA would later use for detecting the possibility of life on Mars. 

            As an outcome of that work, Lovelock and biologist Lynn Margulis proposed that this earth is itself a living thing. Or, to quote Wikipedia, “that the living and non-living parts of the Earth form a complex interacting system that can be thought of as a single organism.” 

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