Wednesday, March 5, 2008

In the Shadow of the Moon

We finally rented In the Shadow of the Moon from Netflix and watched it this past weekend. This is the documentary about the Apollo program that came out last year. It features interviews with many of the original astronauts combined with lots of original footage of the missions. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although of course I am a space nut. The one single overriding impression of the movie, though, is how old these guys are getting. It really brings home how long it has been (nearly forty years) since we went to the moon. What is more, most of them will probably be dead before anyone ever goes back there. Personally I find this very disheartening.

Why do so few people care any more? Why does space travel no longer fire the imaginations of most young people? How many of you even realize NASA is working on a program to send astronauts back to the moon by the year 2020? Whatever happened to the spirit of the frontier? I wish I knew.


Eratosthenes said...

I think young people are just apathetic in general. More specifically though, I think most young people are disillusioned with manned spaceflight overall. With continually faulty shuttle craft, the Columbia disaster, and those stupid conspiracy theories about moon landing hoaxes (a lot of young people love to believe conspiracy theories), and the notion that the Apollo Program was just a Cold War gimmick all combine to cause us to question the value of the whole thing. One is likely to hear, "Why do something we've already done when we have problems to solve on earth?"

Still, the frontier spirit you mentioned is probably still alive, and something extraordinary like a successful moon landing might reinvigorate a lot of people. That is, of course, assuming partisanship doesn't kill the whole project.

Bill Hensley said...

What's fascinating is the discrepancy between the popularity of all sorts of space-related sci-fi and the near total disinterest in real, live space exploration. Are we jaded because the fantasy has so far outstripped the reality?