Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Our Continuing Retreat from Greatness

Hi Guys,

Bit of a different post today. Recently as many of you will know, Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon, passed away. He was 86. And while that's a sad thing in itself, it's also sad for a second, more profound reason. Twelve men in total have walked on the moon. Eight of them are dead. And the last men to walk on the moon, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt of Apollo 17, did so in 1972. It's now 2018. 

That's forty six years ago!

When I was a kid, looking forwards to the future - say the year 2000 - we should have had moon bases and regular travel by then. Possibly also alien encounters and flying cars, but that's by the by. But really the question for me is, why haven't we at least been back? And will we even go back before the last of the men who walked on the moon passes away? Somehow I don't think we will.

By now we should all be flying around at supersonic speeds. But we did that. Now Concord's gone and there are no plans to replace it. We should be eating dinner on space stations. But guess what - the shuttle's gone and all there are to replace it are plans and drawings.

We talk about going to Mars. But even as we talk, the current president slashes NASA's budget. We're not going to Mars. Not unless one of the billionaires like Musk does it.

It almost seems to me some days, that something has died in us. Our will to achieve greatness. To explore. To risk everything in the name of discovery. What was it that Kennedy said - we to go to the moon not because it's easy but because it's hard? It seems to me that we don't want to do hard any more. We want to do cell phones and computer games. Have a beer and put our feet up. Get a head start on that middle aged spread!

Look, I freely admit it, I am definitely not the right stuff! In fact I am so far into being the wrong stuff that they need a new word for me! (Hell, they'd need a whole new class of rocket just to get me off the ground!) But I'm still someone who can dream and hope, sometimes even type a few words about it. So if I can do that where are all the people out there who are willing to do the rest? To commit their efforts, their hearts and souls to these great goals? Where are the leaders who will take these visions and start trying to make them a reality?

Isn't it about time that we started trying to reclaim our greatness instead of retreating from it?

Cheers, Greg.