Forty-one years ago today, humans set foot on the moon for the first time. Neil Armstrong left a footprint in the dust, and said, "This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Interestingly, he went off script for that remark. He meant to say, "This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." (I think we're all thankful for the flub.)
This post is really about great space photos, but allow me a quick digression into the outsized role Apollo now plays in energy policy, mostly due to that glorious moment four decades ago.
Apollo is the analog of choice for any field in science and technology that proponents think needs a big boost in funding. We apparently need an Apollo project for everything, most especially energy. The impulse to draw the link to Apollo is understandable. NASA was incredibly successful at boosting its budget during the program's early days. And while there was fierce opposition to Apollo (aka "the moondoggle") before its completion, the success of the missions erased most of it.
Energy R&D, particularly for non-nuclear technologies, has historically been underfunded, so most energy experts think it makes sense to increase that budget, perhaps to $15 billion a year (or 0.1% of GDP). By drawing the link with a proud moment in American history, some groups think clean energy advocates can gather political momentum.