This weekend, NASA TV is running footage from the Apollo 11 mission. It was fifty years ago that man first stepped on to the moon. There is an argument to be made, that the mission was the pinnacle of America’s ascent. Since then, we’ve quit being explorers and have fallen into some Twilight Zone abyss.
They calculate that over 400,000 people were employed due to the Apollo missions. In the space of a decade, we went from not being able to get a rocket into space, to putting a man on the moon with less computer power than the cell phone in your pocket has.
There are literally hundreds of products we use in everyday life, medical cures, everyday technology, that was given birth by our exploration into space. Now, we have to rent a rocket from the Russians because we don’t have the capacity to field one on our own.
If we quit worrying about bullying the world, joined forces with other nations, and made a concerted effort to reach out into the universe together, we might surprise ourselves at what can be achieved. We are not alone in this universe. To think so is as dumb as thinking climate change is a Chinese hoax. As a species, we consume more than the planet Earth can provide us. Our future lies in the great unknown beyond the moon.
Future space exploration rests in the hands of Europe, Japan, China, and India to name the leaders. But America can have a role as well. It isn’t too late. But it will take working with others to make it happen. Space was always a humanity effort, not an American one. Nothing better says that than remembering that the Apollo 11 astronauts left a medal honoring the Russian Yuri Gagarin, the first man into space, on the moon’s surface. We should’ve never stopped going. Its time to go back.