Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the Moon. July 1969 A.D.
We came in peace for all mankind.
It’s the inscription on a metal plaque on the legs of the lunar landing module which has sat for the last 40 years on a feature named the ‘Sea of Tranquility’ on earth's Moon.
For a geek there is no bigger day in the calendar than 16 July the anniversary of the moon landing. The_weapon and I have been trying to make a Lego tribute but the Lunar Lander (Lem) is proving a challenge. A much simpler tribute is the work of a fan using the lego from the time of the landings..
Nothing since has fired the imagination of the world. No other event is pointed to as a pinnacle of our technological achievement to compare all others -‘if we can land men on the moon, why can’t we….(insert desired)?” was a frequent lament for the decades after. A generation of engineers and scientists were created because of the zeitgeist of the goal to land men on the moon. There was a feeling our future would be ever upward, a bright shinny utopia.
But it’s been forty years. Now we seem to view the future more with fear and trepidation, less optimism and enthusiasm than ever before.
In that forty years were’ve discovered more, learned of wonders both sublime and gross, we have more people and hence more of the most evolved thinking machines ever devised living longer, with access to better tools and more information that we have had in the past centuries. To those who lived a thousand years ago we in countries like Australia, Britain and the United States would be judged as Gods. Even the rest of the world is racing to catch up to our opportunities.
Yes there are problems but hope beats despair any day for trying to fix something.
So we need a new Apollo program to once again inspire hope, but its hard to imagine one that will fire the imagination like the first. The Large Hadron Collider excites me and a lot of other geeks but hasn’t caught the public’s imagination, other than as a tool for hacks like Dan Brown to portray as the evils of science personified. The human genome project gets me hot and sweaty but had to generate an iconic image like the photo ‘earthrise’.
A permanent colony on the moon? Its an obvious step but more a commercial operation like setting up research station in Antarctica sur a technical challange but no ones going to make a movie about it. A walk on Mars?
No for me I want a crewed journey to another star system - that’s what I want to see.
But then to get the funding they would probably want to run it as a live streaming reality program something like Ron Battlestar Galactica Moore’s new series ‘Virtuality’ which is a little depressing. Not the show, though I am sure there will be depression in, after all if you are stuck on a ship with the same people for 10 years that's bound to make you a bit blue at times. I meant depressing you need reality TV to drive space exploration.
Still Per aspera ad astra
I leave you with a piece of music which for many people, myself included, can’t hear without thinking of humanity’s exploration of space.
Richard Strauss’s Thus Spake Zarathustra. Op. 30 from 2001: a Space Odyssey
So what should be the next great adventure ?