When you talk about images of the moon, the beauty in the sky, that's where the inspiration is. No scientific thinking begins with an equation.Ballarat astrophysicist Saeed Salimpour
THINK BIGGER is the challenge astrophysicist Saeed Salimpour is confident young children will take from the 50th anniversary of man first setting foot on the moon.
Mr Salimpour has heard fellow scientists who lived through the historic moment talk about the landing with such passion and pride in humanity. The Ballarat Observatory educator said such recollections inspired him to search deeper and realise anything could be possible.
You just had to set your mind to it.
"The second moon landing era is coming with NASA to put the first woman on the moon by 2024," Mr Salimpour said. "The next generation now has the challenge set to them - the challenge will have a lot of foundations but you can build a lot of new things.
"...One of the key research topics that excites students is space - space and dinosaurs - and space is so far away but we're now seeing people out there in space. Their future is completely different. We've done it, we've landed on the moon, so now it's where can we go next."
Mr Salimpour led a talk about the Apollo missions and modern space exploration to coincide with the the anniversary to the exact moment - 12.56pm - that man first stepped on to the moon. The talk was part of celebrations, complete with plenty of home-made rocket launching at Ballarat Observatory on Sunday.
Children, teenagers and a few adults were wearing NASA-branded and moon-themed t-shirts for the event, featuring celestial live music.
Mr Salimpour said so much technology, engineering and medical advances we tend to take for granted today have stemmed from the moon missions. He marvelled at what might be achieved next.
"When (United States president) Kennedy put the challenge out there in 1961 to go to the moon, no-one had done it...The moon mission is important on several levels - there is the science level but also the sociology levels of people worldwide working together. And this was done within eight years," Mr Salimpour said.
"What could we achieve within eight years with the tools available to us today and how private organisations can contribute to what is a science and human advancement...Often the human aspect becomes lost.
"When you talk about images of the moon, the beauty in the sky, that's where the inspiration is. No scientific thinking begins with an equation."