When epic events happen, such as the 1969 moon landing, keepers of tradition react differently. Some attempt to intellectually digest the new era by integrating the new facts into tradition while others respond by defending tradition at all cost.
We have, in the past, discussed how some rabbis of the time reacted to the moon landing (link). R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik responded negatively to a query whether this disproved the verse stating that the heavens are only for the Lord. R. Ya’akov Kamenetsky stated that this refuted the Maimonidean (Aristotelian) view that the moon is a living being. R. Menachem Kasher, on the other hand, argued (unconvincingly) to the contrary in a monograph devoted to the meaning of the moon landing.
I came across another rabbinic response to the moon landing that takes a somewhat different approach than those discussed above. R. Shlomo Wolbe, in a talk on Shabbos Parashas Ki Seitzei in 1969, used the moon landing as a parable (Da’as Shlomo, Ma’amarei Yemei Ratzon p. 81). Unapologetically and unselfconsciously, he told how the astronauts were quarantined for 21 days after returning to Earth to ensure that no alien bacteria or viruses came back with them. Similarly, he suggested, if there were spiritual beings on the moon they would have quarantined the astronauts for upon landing to ensure they were not bringing any “bacteria” of lack-of-God-fearing, any contamination of irreligiosity. If the Chafetz Chaim, R. Yisrael Meir Kagan, had been the first to land on the moon, he would have seen a pure landscape entirely untainted by irreligiosity, perhaps even attaining the level of prophecy.
I find this reaction entirely characteristic of a Mussar personality — using contemporary events to illustrate a spiritual point. I also find it noteworthy that R. Wolbe saw no religious challenge in this monumental event, referring to it without skeptical disclaimers or intellectual alarm. Instead, he found a Mussar aspect which could further the goal of deepening fear of God.