I WAS browsing the Internet when I came across this link which was about how Nasa scientists are getting together to plan how to get back to the Moon.
Their ambition is to go back there to stay, creating a permanent base as a site for people to live in and conduct research, as well as preparing for further journeys to Mars.
Exciting stuff, but while I applaud their ambition and belief, and hope to hell this happens, I honestly don’t think it will.
And that’s the problem – will. For everyone like me who thinks it would be great to go to the moon again, you get 10 who point to everything else the money could be spent on, or 100 wacko conspiracy theorists who say we never went at all, like in Capricorn One.
People have to want it, and unless China starts getting close to landing on the Moon to create a new space race, I don’t think the American people – and, more importantly, the politicians – will want it enough.
On top of that, when President Bush stated the ambition of returning to the moon a while back, I seem to remember he was a little … ermm … fuzzy on the specifics, like cost and how they are actually going to do it.
Of course, that hasn’t stopped him spunking huge amounts of money in Iraq, so that fuzzyness is no real guide for anything.
Kennedy was similarly vague back in the day and yet, within a decade, they were there.
I was born two years after the first moon landing (and named after Neil Armstrong – who piloted the Eagle lander down to Tranquility base with virtually no fuel, to my continued amazement) but I wish I could have lived through those times.
It must have seemed like science fiction was becoming fact, that anything was possible. Moonbases, rockets to Mars, space travel for everyone? No problem.
Then reality set in, other things suddenly seemed more important and the space programme was cut back, meaning there are still only 12 men who have walked on the moon.
Will there be more? There has to be, but Nasa have to make a truly compelling case for it, whih they have yet to do.
As to when? That I can’t answer, but unless something changes I don’t think we will be blasting off inside Nasa’s current timetable.