There has been a bit of a thing about the footage from the first moon landing falling by the wayside as NASA’s Videotape budget wasn’t much. The footage is being restored. The BBC ran the audio from the mission to commemorate the 40th anniversary. It was for lack of a better word, awesome. From a number of articles online, the Apollo astronauts believe NASA to be a shell of its former inspiring stuff. They may have a point.
I remember on numerous occasions school activity coming to a stop with the moon missions. Our teachers would shepard us into whichever classrooms had television, as there were only a couple, so we could see the landings in their entire spectacularness — usually in “living color.” The three broadcast networks each had guys dedicated to space coverage. That doesn’t seem to exist anymore. We have gotten blase toward the whole thing, which is too bad. The shuttle program only brought us together during the two crashes, with the second being a footnote compared to the first. It seems a little like NASA is spinning its wheels a little bit.
Current plans supposedly call for the shuttle program to end upon completion of the space station, with NASA paying Russia to act as intergalactic transit from Earth to the Station. Then, what? Exploring the wonders of space? What’s next? Objectives are great, but it feels like we are still trying to figure what is next.
In space, no one can hear you scream…or hail a shuttle. A learned colleague points out that the Apollo program ran without a real understanding, just a goal and they figured it out as they went. I think it’s time to pick a goal. When President Kennedy said we were going to land a man on the moon by the end of the century, nobody knew anything. All they had was an endpoint, but a bunch of guys whose median age was 26 (thanks, Josh) made that happen.
C’mon NASA, let’s stop everybody in our tracks once more. You still have the power to wow us, just haven’t used it in a very long time. Look to the stars with the rest of us.