50 years ago, this is what America was capable of:
Every time I watch this, I almost weep. For the aborted future that might have been – that ought to have been.
And why was it aborted?
There are several reasons, but one stands out: The ascension of Mom Culture and the Safety Cult. Apollo was conceived and executed by men who – as Kennedy put it – chose to do so not because it was easy but because it was hard.
And damned risky.
Apollo, today, is inconceivable. Not because of the money. But because of the audacious, hell-for-leather risk of such a maniacal enterprise as placing men on the tip of a Saturn V rocket and catapulting them not merely into low earth orbit (the best the Space Pinto ever managed) but through the Van Allen Belt and onward, a quarter million miles through the empty vacuum of frigid space to the Moon and back. In a flimsy, foil-covered capsule with no margin for error, no safety net.
But with a world to gain – literally.
Moms would rather stay home. It’s safer there.
I was just a little kid when the last Saturn V lifted off. They are museum pieces now. But I grew up assuming that by the time I was in college, man would have already walked on Mars. It seemed as inevitable as the colonization of the New World after Columbus showed the way there.
Yet here I am, in middle age – and not even the Space Pinto’s flying anymore. The Chinese are just getting to where the United States’ space program (and the Soviet program) was circa 1966, when the first simple probes were landed on the Moon. By 2025 or so, they may just succeed in landing a man on the moon.
50 years after the last American walked on the Moon.