Moon-Shot Blues

July 20, 1969 2:30 a.m. I was just a 5-year-old boy without a care in the world. Sleeping peacefully through a warm Indiana night.

I was startled from my blissful slumber by my grandma’s frantic yelling, “Get up, Steven! You’re going to miss it if you don’t get up!” Like any boy half asleep, popping out of bed on command wasn’t going to happen.

That didn’t stop Grandma from picking me up out bed and ushering me into the living room. She had been up all night monitoring the Apollo 11 moon landing. She wasn’t about to let her grandchild miss one of the biggest events in modern history

I’ll never forget the eerie glow emanating from the small television situated in a huge cabinet. I sat there in the dark for hours, glued to that small screen the same way kids are today. Even as an adolescent, the significance of this event was understood. The eagle had landed.

Fifty years later there are plans being scripted to return to the moon in great American fashion. Will I be as in tune as I was back then?

Absolutely not!

This will be nothing more than a multi-billion-dollar publicity stunt. A notion that greatness can be found going back to a time before women rode Harleys and white people still used the n-word.

There is so little to gain by this costly effort. Space exploration is a lot more than leaving a trail of space junk on a tourist trip.

Maybe after we’ve mastered robotic excursions through the solar system. More importantly after we’ve cleaned up the millions of pieces of litter orbiting the planet, potentially making it possible for bigger orbiting platforms.

Where are the capitalists on this one? Does the space tourism industry really need the assistance of a large tax-paid bureaucratic program?

Are we setting a good example for the rest of the world? India’s planning a moon trip. The country ranked highest in pollution and poverty. Do they plan to put a call center up there so NASA can outsource their communication needs? Who knows?


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