Back to the Moon

moon landing

When did we become so jaded that returning to the Moon made barely a ripple when it comes to the news? Where is the sense of wonder, the sense of excitement at the thought of possible new manned space flights?

I was a youngster when Neil Armstrong first stepped foot on the Moon. But I remember how schools followed the mission, from launch to splashdown. Families gathered around their TVs to watch. Heck, my grandmother, worried I wouldn’t be able to see it for some reason–still haven’t figured that one out–made sure to buy me a small portable TV for my room. I took that TV to school with me when the teacher asked any of us who had small TVs to do just that so the class could watch the news coverage.

Oh the flights of fancy that took off in my mind during those days. I’d always had my “stories”. I come from a long line of writers and storytellers, so making up stories and writing what I now recognize as fanfiction, came naturally to me. But that first moonwalk seemed to send my imagination into overdrive.

I no longer have those handwritten stories from back then. But I remember some of them. In one, I was a member of the crew making the first landing on Mars. Hey, don’t blame me. We’d already made it to the Moon. Except, instead of finding a barren planet, we found a thriving–and not so nice–civilization hidden away from our prying telescopes. We got away through skill, luck, and more than a little trickery.

Some of those stories were variants on Twilight Zone episodes. (Anyone remember the Roddy McDowell episode “People are alike all over”?) One was little more than a reimagining of “Jungle in the Sky” by Milton Lessor. I’d discovered a copy of the May 1952 edition of “If” that included the story while closet diving at my grandmother’s house. That story fanned my love of SF.

But seeing the LEM land on the surface of the Moon and watching Neil Armstrong descend to the surface? That captured my imagination like nothing else. Like so many others, I expected to see NASA do more. I figured there would be scientific outposts set up. Once they proved viable, we’d start seeing businesses staking their claims to the lunar surface. With those claims would be settlements. Would they become company towns or settlements established by those wanting to be free from the restrictions of life on Earth?

The possibilities were endless.

Now, so many jaded years later, we’ve hit another milestone where the Moon is concerned and it seems as if there is a general lack of enthusiasm. Why?

I have my guesses. First is the lack of media coverage. Oh, there was a little coverage of the landing. But not that much of events leading up to it. Why? Let’s face it. An unmanned Moon landing doesn’t hold the same Zing! that a manned flight, short though it might be, that includes the likes of Jeff Bezos or William Shatner.

I even found myself wondering if the tragedy of the OceanGate submersible, Titan, might not have played into it as well. The country, the world, watched the media coverage of the search for the submersible for days before it was declared lost with all souls onboard. The sense of adventure the submersible first garnered turned into one of tragedy and even anger as more and more details about the submersible came to light and questions by the experts were discussed.

But, for whatever the reason for the lack of excitement in yesterday’s events, it saddens me. A private venture has made it to the Moon. Perhaps it’s time for NASA, some of these private companies and–gag–the government put their collective heads together and resume a solid and aggressive space initiative.

What do you think?

 

Featured image created using Midjourney AI

2 Comments

  1. Meh, it is just another short lived automated lander. If it had been a MANNED mission, then that would have been different.

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