Thursday, July 18, 2019

In a few days, we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. I am "dating myself" here, but I was already around when that happened even though too young to remember. In fact, I did not really know that the Americans even went to space even though I loved reading books about space and watching stories of Soviet space exploration on TV. It did change in 1975, with the Soyuz-Apollo flight. I had some beautiful stamps in my collection commemorating this event.
Later, of course, I learned a lot about the Apollo program - from books and movies and from my daughter who is a "space flight junkie". And looking at this event from 50 years down the road, it seems miraculous that it really happened, that the United States could execute such an enormously complex program in less than 10 years from its inception. It is the ultimate proof that we, humans, are capable of greatness and teamwork when we are faced with a really big goal and when we are competing with someone else. Let's be honest - the US would not have spent billions of dollars and would not have pushed this program so hard without a threat that the Soviets would get to the Moon first.
And that brings me to the question of whether we are really going to get back to the Moon, and I am not even talking Mars. Our country looks so different now than it did 50 years ago. Yes, digital technology leaped forward, and we have a lot more gadgets in our houses. But we are no longer united in our desire to explore space. It does not matter whether the President that announces the next big goal in space is a Republican or a Democrat, it's guaranteed that 50% of the country will be opposed to this goal;)
Of course, not all is lost. Someone is likely going to get to the Moon in the next decade. China is serious about its space program, and maybe that's what America needs - some healthy competition (and a bit of fear) to overcome naysayers and open a new page in space exploration. I really hope to see another moon landing in my lifetime - a moon landing that I will actually remember.

Your Turn

Do you think we will get to the Moon in the next decade?


Joyful Learner said...

You forgot the most important thing - funding. In America, there is greater power and control by the corporations. If Americans pursue space exploration, it will be through a corporation which has amassed enough wealth to fund it. Too many average Americans not being able to support a livable wage, healthcare, and education to support a governmental led space program. Competition alone will not do it.

Joyful Learner said...

If China makes it to the moon within the next decade, it will be just as exciting for majority of the population in the world.

I forget which film but when Americans had trouble getting Americans back from space, the Chinese help fund the program so they could return safely. It would be nice to see nations cooperate for a single goal rather than competing to see who gets there first.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

@joyful learner - it was "The Martian". And I have no problem with China being the next on the Moon, in fact, I hope they will be.

Joyful Learner said...

I'm just saying that we can accomplish more by cooperation rather than competition.

Joyful Learner said...

Before we can tackle space, we need to take care of the people in America and also the earth in general.

Ticia said...

I don't know if we will. Like you said, no matter what letter comes after the President's name, 50% of the country will think it's a stupid idea.

I'm also really conflicted by going back to the moon, on the one hand the Space Race fueled a tech jump and all sorts of other stuff, but on the other hand, our country's debt load terrifies me.

MaryAnne said...

I have no idea. There has not been a moon landing in my lifetime.