I was an adolescent when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon in July of 1969. Consequently I am more than a bit of a space geek and have always felt that NASA for better or worse has served the United States well. I had a recent conversation with a colleague regarding the moon landings from 1969 -1972 (there were six and twelve astronauts walked on the moon) and his own doubts that they really happened. Initially I was – well incredulous. And then I thought well, he’s a marketing guy and he thinks anything is possible. Even propagating what would have to be the greatest hoax of the 20th (and maybe any other) century. Now that would be marketing! Except that it wasn’t.
It’s easy to understand why people might have bought in to the moon-hoax idea. The United States and Soviet Union were deeply involved in the Cold War and showing technological superiority was tantamount to owning the respect and envy of the entire world!
Wikipedia has a pretty good entry describing the time.
Back in my junior high days (yes they called it that back then in the 1970’s), we had teachers – good ones that told we students that the moon landings could well be a hoax. It was designed to foster arguments – both pro and con on how the whole thing could have been conjured up by the evil U.S. government and the reasons why. Yet the United States went to the moon (and back) six times in four years! Wouldn’t that qualify as hoax overkill in and of itself? And to what end? After the second time (see we not only did it once but twice – why a third time? A fourth etc.?), wouldn’t that have been too much?
Combine that overkill with the incredible level of conspiracy it would have taken to drumbeat multiple moon landings (that’s marketing) and it’s as far fetched as the idea of going BACK to the moon today without much of a reason. I don’t feel that way about going to Mars however as I am all for a manned Mars mission not only to prove that the United States still can be a world leader in areas other than social networks and fast food.
Going back to (in the case of the U.S). and exploring space gives Americans and humanity a better chance to be the best versions of ourselves we can be, since space travel begs for mankind’s humility. The vastness of the universe is awe-inspiring and humbling. When a nation – any nation for that matter as it does not have to be the United States (but it should be) achieves success in exploring worlds beyond our own planet, we become ‘Earthlings’ and we forgo nationalities – at least for a little while.
A better marketing plan would be to help construct a viable plan to continue to explore our solar system and beyond. It’s not that people can be against exploring space, it’s outlining and agreeing to what would be the benefits and coming up with an acceptable way to pay for it. For me simply reminding mankind to remember to be humble is nearly reason enough.
What do you think?