40 years ago this week and man – in the shape of Neil Armstrong at first – walked on the moon for the first time.
At the time , it seemed like everything was possible.
Holidays on the Moon ? by the end of the decade surely….actually living on the moon? By the end of the century, as good as guaranteed.
But the magic was wearing thin even by the second mission.
As this excellent article by Andrew Chaikin says…
“By the time of the final Apollo Moonwalks, on the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972, the networks no longer covered the moonwalks in their entirety. We had already stopped watching.”
So what did the Moon do for us ? Professor Martin Ward at Durham University :
“There are superficial justifications for visiting our nearest neighbour, one being that space technology saw the advent of non-stick frying pans. However, the Apollo programme also pushed forward computer technology and the miniaturisation of electronics which benefit our lives today.”
So are we due another “Giant leap”? Do we need one? With the world heading for over population and climate change, isn’t it time we looked to the Moon – and beyond – again?
Does the fact that interest in, and funding for, space programmes is a lower priority of governments show that it was only ever about muscle-flexing in the Cold War anyway?
Do you want our scientists (and tax dollars) to look inwards to the Earth, our outwards?
“We need to renew our commitment to human spaceflight. Robotic missions are much cheaper and gather important scientific data, but they don’t spread the human race into space, which should be our long-term strategy. If one is considering the future of humanity, we have to visit other worlds ourselves.”
Do you agree with him? Do we not owe it to the men and women who gave the world such hope 40 years ago ?