The contents of the Voyager Golden Record. Despite our wars, our pettiness, and our greed, we look to be more than what we are, and we look for others living out there so that we can deliver to them a message from all of humanity of hope, friendship, and goodwill.
This video and this video, featuring a baby boy and a 29 year old woman respectively, both born deaf, hearing for the first time. Medical science gave them their hearing, no one who has seen these videos has failed to choke up in the good way.
Jonas Salk's greatest achievement was developing the vaccine for Polio, a disease so widespread and crippling in parts of the world that China had 80 million people vaccinated in 1993, and is still a big problem in third world countries. A man who could have become one of the richest scientists in the history of humanity said these words when regarding a patent "Could you patent the sun?". Because of this work, Polio went from hundreds of thousands of cases per year to about a thousand... Tens of millions of children, able to walk, because a man would rather do the right thing rather than get rich...
This is so heartwarming, that Jonas Salk being the original "Good Guy Greg" (a reddit macro series) is practically a meme.
In a poor Malawian village racked by cholera, famine, and superstition, a young boy gets kicked out of school because he can't afford the tuition. The boy, however, loves science and learning, and is determined to keep learning. So... he fishes out scraps of books from the local dumpster. He finds a book on basic electricity, and sees a picture of a windmill that generates electricity. His imagination sparked, he spends the next year and a half digging through trash cans and other stuff people have either thrown away or are about to throw away; to find the parts necessary to make his windmill. People call him mad, but his parents tell him to keep working at it. One day, the boy calls his village together (Please keep in mind, the highest technology anybody in the village owns is an AA battery and maybe a Walkman) and holds up a single light bulb attached to a windmill that looks like a reject from a Dr. Seuss book. The villagers laugh at him... UNTIL... the light bulb flickers. As the wind picks up, the rickety windmill spins, and suddenly the light bulb shines, like a single candle in the night. The stunned villagers cheer the boy wildly. Soon word of the boy's genius spreads (remember, he basically just brought his village out of the third world, a feat that whole governments sometimes fail to achieve). The new found hi-tech is used to aid in getting clean water to use for the crops, thus alleviating the devastating famine. And the kicker... the boy gets a scholarship to COLLEGE in South Africa and is called a hero by Al Gore himself. Nobody has the audacity to make up a story like this. Just Google William Kamkwamba. Better yet, here's a entry on him from The Other Wiki.
One manufacturer of these robots has gone on to say that one of the oddest, yet hardest things he has ever seen was when he saw big, tough soldiers come to him on the verge of tears, giving him a thoroughly bomb-blast destroyed robot and begging him to fix it.
On a lighter note, a US Army base was thrown into chaos for a day when their million-dollar experimental bomb disposing robot vanished, at the end of the day, they learned the identity of the thieves- two soldiers on a day pass who had taken the robot fishing.
The fact that the entire world managed to set aside their differences, during the Cold War no less, to ensure the smallpox virus would never harm another person again. Best of all, in 1980, they succeeded.
The Antarctic Treaty, being the first international treaty after World War II that followed the policy of peaceful coexistence. Its goals are to protect the ecological balance in Antarctica, to enable scientists to do research about the continent, and also exchange their data, to encourage international cooperation, and also to use Antarctica for peaceful purposes. Mining of mineral resources was forbidden, and so were nuclear tests or any activities from the military.
Now, keep in mind the treaty is from 1959, and took effect in 1961. Despite the Cold War, it compromised free data exchange between Russian and American scientists (both countries signed the treaty from the beginning). It should also not be taken for granted that countries who claimed a certain piece of land for themselves, sometimes overlapping with the claims of another country, signed a treaty that forbade military action and instead researched the continent together. Despite that, the treaty is still valid and has never been broken.
This Tumblr post about the drive behind space exploration and the building of the Mars rovers, especially the last line:
the robots can say, when they made us, they called us discovery; they called us curiosity; they called us explorer; they called us spirit. they must have thought that was important. and they told us to tell you hello.
On a similar note, this post about how the Curiosity rover sings itself Happy Birthday every year.
We built a little robot and called it Curiosity and flung it into the stars to go and explore places we canít get to because its name is in our nature and then just because we could, we taught it how to sing.
When interviewed shortly before returning to Earth before a total of 340 days on the International Space Station, astronaut Mark Kelly said that he had most missed 'human contact' in space.
The Apollo 8 Mission. 1968 had been a really bad year, with the Vietnam War and many other things. Yet these three men went up there, knowingly risking their lifes, managed to become the first people to leave Earth's gravitational field... and one of the things they brought back was the photograph of an Earthrise, as seen from the Moon. TIME chose them as the Men of the Year. As the telegraph received by Borman said, "Thank you, Apollo 8. You saved 1968."
How can we forget the doctors and nurses during the SARS period? Living, sleeping in wards and corridors, unable to see their families, facing an unknown and uncurable disease, yet never giving up and skipping town.
Older Than They Think. When The Black Plague was sweeping Europe, and being a priest or nurse at the side of the thousands of dying would be a death sentence, the Church decreed that all those who stayed at the side of the dying would be given a free pass to Heaven. No one can say they didn't deserve it.
The plaque of the Apollo 11 moon mission reads: "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind". For all mankind.
Hello Neil and Buzz. I'm talking to you by telephone from the Oval Room at the White House. And this certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made. I just can't tell you how proud we all are of what you've done. For every American, this has to be the proudest day of our lives. And for people all over the world, I am sure they too join with Americans in recognizing what an immense feat this is. Because of what you have done, the heavens have become a part of man's world. And as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquility, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquility to Earth. For one priceless moment in the whole history of man, all the people on this Earth are truly one. One in their pride in what you have done. And one in our prayers that you will return safely to Earth.
The Challenger and Columbia memorials at Arlington Natl. Cemetery. "They touched the face of God" indeed.
During the Apollo 11 mission, scientists in NASA weren't entirely sure that the lander would be able to reconnect with the orbital craft. Two days before the landing, William Safire was asked to prepare a speech in the event that Armstrong and Aldrin became stranded on the Moon. While it thankfully never had to be delivered, it's still incredibly moving to read today.
"Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace. These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice. These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding. They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown. In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man. In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood. Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Manís search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts. For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind."
Archeology can be heartwarming too. It is common for Archeologists to find human skeletons with deformities or disabilities that prevented a person from caring for themselves, yet many of these skeletons also indicate that the disabled people lived to old age. The only conclusion is that people as far back as the Paleolithic Era cared for and looked after the disabled members of their community.