Monday, 20 July 2009

Magnificent Desolation

Despite no pretty play on the word 'Google' many people across the world will be aware that it was today, Neil Armstrong set foot on the surface of the moon and uttered those famous words. Only a select few have been to the moon, really as part of the ongoing space race with the USSR and astronauts such as Armstrong are well into their 70s.

The traditional 5 year meet of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins at the White House has attracted a lot of attention this year and certainly will more so in 10 years time. The academic discussion around the milestone has varied from sustainable power to looking after the psychological welfare of astronauts when the return to the humdrum of everyday life.

Perhaps 40 years after the Summer of '69 we should be discussing the future of space travel. Americans have become increasingly disinterested with 'the final frontier' both on a micro level and governmental. NASA has less money to work with year on year despite their important work and maintenance of the International Space Station (ISS). Many suggest that if America had continued their space campaign as vociferously as in the 1960s there would be an American flag on the surface of Mars.

But the global recession and proposals for widescale healthcare reform only highlight that America may never commit to their space program in the same way again. The time may well have come to pass the buck to growing economies such as China who, it is rumoured, are interested in taking over the ISS.

Perhaps it will be a Chinese flag we first see on the Martian planet.