More than four years before I was born we got to the moon. Forty years later we have the International Space Station which is basically two Russians and a Yank having a caravan holiday no further away from me than if they were doing it in Sussex. They should have booked that with Haven. It would have been a lot cheaper.
I dunno how I feel about Apollo in particular or NASA in general. The achievement was phenomenal and it certainly pissed on the Soviet barbeque from a great height (approximately 250,000 miles) but ultimately it was not the way to go technically. I’m not going to go into that now. As a recovering astrophysicist we would be here some time…
I was going to write about the cultural importance instead but the hell with that as well! I’ll just go personal.
It was simply magnificent. From Kill Devil Hills to Tranquility Base in two generations is an awesome achievement. From a couple of fellas in a shed in Ohio building something with less horsepower than a scooter to the folks in the VAB assembling something with more horsepower than God Himself in 66 years is astonishing.
I am struggling for words here mainly because it is hard to be original over something that everyone will be commenting on right now but also because I am just so awestruck. The sound of a Saturn V has a long echo… And maybe that’s the problem. Things like manned spaceflight might join Concorde and nuclear power in the legend bin to be recycled on the Discovery channel until they become not stepping stones to our future but almost myths. I know this is turning into an almost Tolkienesque lament about decline and fall but when I see through my misty eyes the video of the Apollo launches I see a tremendous hope for the future and a future we somehow lost about the same time we lost Vietnam and then descended into our the current miserableness that thinks building windmills to keep the sky from falling is a technological priority.
Anyway… Neil, Buzz and Michael you are the stuff of legend and I salute you but I so hope that will become literally a legend because you and every technician who merely handled a posidrive for your trip is worth about three trillion George Monbiots (or roughly five trillion Jonnie Porritts in old money) and that is only valuing those two sods as cat food and then only suitable for the hungriest and least picky of cats.
We are made from the stars and not the mud that Marduk heaped up or the dust that Allah did or whatever deranged process the Gaians believe in and we wanna go home.
Per Ardua Ad Astra!