50TH ANNIVERSARY OF APOLLO 11

The Moon’s Two Faces

URSULA K. HEISE

This coming 20th of July will be the 50th anniversary of the “small step for a man” and “giant leap for mankind” which Neil Armstrong took on the surface of the Moon. In commemoration of this historic feat, the BBVA Foundation, in collaboration with Spanish national newspaper El Mundo, presents a special multimedia publication in which four experts analyze the significance of Apollo 11 from different perspectives. In this article, Professor Ursula K. Heise – Marcia H. Howard Chair in Literary Studies at UCLA – analyzes the cultural roots of the dream of flying to the moon, from the writings of Luciano de Samosata 2,000 years ago, to the novels of Jules Verne and the cinematographic vision of George Méliès, as well as the lasting cultural impact of the moon landings on humanity’s awareness of the Earth as our shared, fragile home. A video interview with Professor Heise is also available by clicking on the ‘play’ button on the image at the top of this page.