I’m skeptical of the usefulness of manned spaceflight, even as I believe in its long-term necessity. (Besides, should it be necessary for humans to leave Earth, we could get that going on fairly short order. The technology’s straightforward, even if we don’t have interplanetary ships today.)
I was born almost a decade after the last time a human stepped foot on the moon. The Apollo program was Cold War nose-thumbing and sabre-rattling at its most blatant. It was a corporate boondoggle on a scale scarcely seen since. It was a distraction from the horrors of Vietnam and from the waning popularity of two Presidents.
Landing on the moon was also the most impressive thing humans have ever achieved.
Despite all its flaws, I’ve been a big supporter of the space program for my entire life. Building better telescopes and probes is absolutely necessary for the same reasons the Large Hadron Collider is necessary: because if we don’t seek out knowledge about the universe, if we don’t appreciate it, what the hell is the point?
36 years ago today, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt stepped into their lunar module and returned home, the last humans to step foot on another world. That’s not appreciating it, guys.