When Apollo spacecraft passed to the far side of the moon there were some tense moments in mission control. During this part of the orbit radio communication with the earth was impossible. There was no way to know if everything was alright until the spacecraft reappeared.
Imagine yourself sitting in mission control without being able to see or speak to the astronauts and not knowing if they were in trouble. It must have been a completely helpless feeling.
Imagine being one of those astronauts; no one in human history has been that far away, that isolated.
If you are the parent of a boy, or work with boys it is very possible that you will know how the folks in mission control must have felt. Parents experience something very much like the folks at NASA; our children suit up, get in the capsule and are launched into space. We maintain some control, we can send messages back and forth, we can help them steer a course.
When the spacecraft goes behind the Moon we can’t communicate with that astronaut child of ours. Whether you expect this to happen or are taken by surprise it’s confusing and dismaying and it hurts, it hurts to the core. Some parents get angry and some just about loose their minds. No parent I have know was prepared to go through this experience (at least not the first time) and it can be terribly unsettling.
But the mission goes on and soon the ship has traveled around the moon, the avenues of communication open. We’re happy to hear things are going well, that everyone has survived the trip.
Just like the folks at mission control we have to listen quietly when the mission is on the dark side of the Moon. We can’t just keep transmitting messages – we have to listen for the answers as well.