Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Science: Half Century

Today is exactly 50 years since JFK asked Congress to put a man on the moon...

As is too well known this endeavour had nothing at all to do with science. What's more it didn't even require any new science. The whole shebang could and was done with humankind's knowledge as existed on that very day. Of course, there were hopes that science will get a nice little (or maybe even big) push with the conquering of places outside our little planet. And it did, but ironically this was mostly through whatever was being done in (low) Earth's orbit. Moon was, and remained, just a place we visited a handful of times and then promptly forgot, not unlike a holiday destination that has lost it's charm (hello, Barcelona). Heck, even low Earth orbit is now off limits for anyone who does not fancy riding atop a Russian rocket. Do note, there's nothing wrong with Russian rockets (although the landing is not the most comfortable there is), it's just that with the technology we have in the 21st century you'd expect more than one nation to be capable of manned space flight! And science - what about science? Would it really improve in leaps and bounds if not bounded by (low) Earth (orbit) and an odd planet (hello, Mars Rovers)? Probably not necessarily, but we'll now never know. And why should we? After all, it does seem much more important to kill each other with wild abandon, rather than pull together and finally get off into the great unknown.

Don't you think there's nothing more exciting then the unknown unknowns?