I can remember sitting in a radio studio at the age of 17 in 1969 watching a black-and-white TV as the Eagle landed at Tranquility Base.
And if you asked me then what a moonshot would look like in 50 years, I’d never have guessed it would look almost exactly the same.
Today’s Artemis launch involves a giant rocket, disposable boosters, and a tiny capsule.
A moon launch is still a cross-your-fingers-and-pray event.
I thought we’d have been a least a little closer to Star Trek by now, but we’re not.
It’s an amazing engineering feat to send a capsule to the moon and back, but after seeing those images from the Webb telescope – it suddenly looks tiny!
I’m feeling the intimidation of the infinite.
All that technology, all that fuel, to get back to a place we visited more than 50 years ago, where there’s no civilization, and where nobody wants to live – unless you’re part of the Moon base working on the mission to Mars.
Which, by the way, is another planet where nobody wants to live, and which is a nine-month commute each way, assuming a return trip is even possible.
And if it’s taken fifty years just to re-do the moon mission with basically the same technology, I think it’s going to be pretty hard to sustain interest in a trip to Mars. If there was a detectable civilization there, yes, I could get excited about that, but there isn’t.
The Webb images have convinced me that the living civilizations are out there, all right, but they are WAAAAY out there. Not in our itsy-bitsy solar system.
And so, I’m hoping that somewhere, here on our own planet, maybe right here in the Puget Sound area – is the young genius who will feel as frustrated as I do about this brute-force rocket launch, and dream up something entirely new so that we don’t find ourselves 50 years from now doing the same thing yet again.
Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.