Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Happy Moonday (Not a typo)

Forty years ago today, I was allowed to hog the family TV and watch the launch of Apollo 11. Four days later on the 20th of July 1969 I repeatedly goggled at footage of the successful lunar landing. They showed it at school, I watched it at home, the word 'awesome' (Not that it was in my vernacular at the time) would not pass my lips because I was too thunderstruck to say anything but 'wow'.

Like a lot of other boys my age, I dreamed of becoming an Astronaut, and in my imagination I have soared out of Earth's atmosphere on voyages of discovery. Regrettably, the Apollo programme was curtailed due to budgetary restraints, and manned space exploration became restricted to Earth orbit. Hearing that, for me, was a very sad day. We were not going to Mars, or anywhere else in the Solar System. The magic faded.

I consoled myself by following the Voyager programme, but it wasn't the same. In a way I felt cheated. Cheated of the chance of seeing mankind soar to new heights and follow a path that would take us out to the stars. Cheated by hearing bone brained conspiracy theorists saying the moon landings were a massive hoax. Then again, said conspiracy theorists seem to have a very poor grasp of basic physics and probably all believe that Al Gore has a brilliant scientific brain, or every neo-malthusian prediction will come true. If they only knew how pointlessly ignorant and pathetic they sound.

I have a dream that in my lifetime science will become less politicised, and that we can stop wasting our time on 'Green' technology. If we put the money into proper Nuclear Fusion research instead (Not just Tokamaks), the dream of near limitless energy might be brought about. Maybe a sideline of that research would provide clues to a workable faster than light technology and we as a species could branch out to the stars. I may never see it, but it's a dream worth having.

In the meantime; here's one of my all time heroes, Edwin Eugene (Buzz) Aldrin, putting the record straight with one of those wastes of space who thinks the moon landings were faked.

Well, it makes me smile. Happy Moonday.

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