It must have been a night like this"with an almost full, soft orange-tinted moon rising into a fading blue sky"that motivated a generation to explore earth's nearest celestial neighbor. For those of my generation, the moon provided inspiration. After all, as young children we witnessed as astronauts landed and walked on the moon. In my [...]

It must have been a night like this"with an almost full, soft orange-tinted moon rising into a fading blue sky"that motivated a generation to explore earth's nearest celestial neighbor.
For those of my generation, the moon provided inspiration. After all, as young children we witnessed as astronauts landed and walked on the moon. In my elementary school, classes were dismissed so we could gather around a console television and watch a successful splashdown when the brave astronauts returned to earth.
At an average of 238,900 miles away from the earth, the fact that humankind was ever able to land on the moon and explore this once unknown world seems incredible. This feat reminds us that anything is possible if we focus our efforts and energies upon the goal.
As a child coming of age during the heyday of NASA, I sometimes looked up at the moon in wonder, sometimes pondering whether an astronaut, perhaps, was gazing at earth simultaneously.
Even without factoring in space exploration, a moonrise over the prairie is a beautiful sight to behold. Great Plains farmers and gardeners have long relied upon the moon's cycles for plantings. Kansas poets have been inspired by the light of the moon as it has altered the landscape's appearance.
A Japanese musician, AkihiroTanaka, who won the International Fingerstyle Guitar Contest at Winfield in 2010, was so inspired by nearest celestial neighbor that he composed a beautiful tribute, entitled 'Kansas Moon' (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yKZQtd1vWI.
Interestingly, the moon also serves as a source of fear for some, and there's even a term for this: selenophobia.
So, the next time you tilt your head skyward to contemplate a Kansas moon, consider that someone else, perhaps on the other side of the globe, may also be looking up and wondering, Will I go there one day?