On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin fulfilled the dreams of generations as they stepped out of the thin protective shell of their lunar lander and onto the alien surface of our moon. For the first time in history, mankind occupied not one, but two separate and distinct celestial bodies, making their achievement not just a Cold War era victory over the Soviets, but a broader victory for all of humanity, past, present and future.

The mighty Saturn V, the most powerful rocket ever built, had ferried the astronauts all the way to their far flung destination, and famously, the crew managed the entire feat with a great deal less computing power than we each now carry in our pockets.

Whatever he’s doing, there’s got to be an app for that by now. (NASA)

The whole mission was an incredible feat of engineering, perseverance, and innovativeness; but from our vantage point here at the tail end of 2019, all that fancy tech has a distinctly retro flair… Nowadays we have Disney-specific streaming platforms, cars that drive themselves, and a billionaire that owns his own rocket factory. With all the of advances that we’ve made in the decades since Apollo, cruising to the moon seems like it should be about as easy as running to the grocery store; and yet despite our smart phones and parkour robots, we can’t seem to match the technological achievements first pulled off in the same year that hippies were hanging out in Woodstock. What gives?

The 1960s were a wild time