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2016

“Event Horizon” predicted that by 2016…

A permanent colony will be established on the moon.

It’s kind of annoying that we won’t have a moon colony by then. In my upcoming book, “Infinite Progress: How Technology and the Internet Will End Ignorance, Disease, Hunger, Poverty, and War”,  I briefly discuss the optimism and confidence that got us to the moon in the first place. I write:

Imagine the audacity of the age. The unwavering confidence. This was the time when John F. Kennedy told the world of our plans to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. As I reread the speech he gave in September 1962 announcing this goal, I am struck by the amount of time he spends justifying the expense and explaining the urgency. Never, however, is there a hint that it might not be possible. He says, in part:

“But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun–almost as hot as it is here today–and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out–then we must be bold.”

Wow – think about that! Think of the optimism! Jet planes were only a few years old. People were still alive who knew the Wright Brothers. And this man was saying we were going to the moon in a rocket ship made of metals we haven’t even invented.

And, you know what? We did.

I think the reason that a minor cottage industry of people denying we went to the moon has sprung up is because it is so, so improbable. So fantastic. So amazing. And yet, as the Jim Lovell character in “Apollo 13” said, “From now on, we live in a world where man has walked on the moon. And it’s not a miracle, we just decided to go.”

And “why not?” they would have asked. “Why don’t we decide what kind of world we want to live in and then make it?”

 

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