50 years ago: Luna races the moon


The front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer the next day.


July 13, 1969 — Luna 15 leaves earth for the moon

The crow kept caw-caw calling

until the world

blurs and breaks

The race is on again



not really.


Launched today, fifty years ago today,

from the steppes of Soviet Kazakhstan,

Luna 15 was racing to the moon,

three days ahead of Apollo 11,

too close in time to be a coincidence,

too close not be to exposed as a desperate act,

too close not to invite comparison,

the thimbleful of soil

it might bring home

versus our first home on the moon,

samples from the early solar system

selected by the human eye

held in the human hand.


Luna 15, holds the headlines

a brief moment

one week before Eagle

is scheduled to set foot on the moon.

One week,

one last salute

to Sputnik,

to Laika, the sacrificial space dog

to Yuri Gagarin

to Vladimir Komerov

to the no-longer anonymous Chief Designer

Sergei Korolev.

Give a nod, a salute

before Luna 15 is swallowed in the lunar dust

on the side of a mountain

where the crow perches and prances

in the Sea of Crises





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