There is no doubt in my mind how strongly the space race was impressed upon me as a teenager. I remember watching Neil Armstrong – at least, an extremely blurry black and white version of him – make that giant leap. It was 20th July 1969 and the world was smaller than it had been before.
Blended with the hundreds of pulp science fiction books I was devouring on an almost hourly basis, it was clear to me that by the time my middle age arrived we would surely be populating the near planets, mining the asteroid belt, and ensuring that no matter the depletion of resources at home (and climate change, of which I was happily unaware at that time) humanity would take its eventual place in the stars. No doubt playing a major part in galactic warfare with the establishment of a Terran Empire.
It’s odd, to me at least, to find myself in that comfortable/uncomfortable middle age and no bloody spaceships! With the planet beginning to fail beneath our weight and in the face of our ravenous consumption, our escape to wider skies and endless resource failed at the first hurdle. Imagination died. The money folk realised the profits came long after the investment; long after they were able to enjoy them, and they shut it down.
Humanity will end here.
The first man to walk on the Moon died a year ago. His family asked that we honour his memory by winking at the Moon each time we saw her. 25th of August has become Wink at the Moon Day (Night). So here’s a quick wink for you, Neil, and a sigh at our apathy.