Tag Archives: US Space Program

Glory Days

Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, FLI don’t recall hearing “Glory Days” playing anywhere in the Kennedy Space Center, but Bruce’s little ditty about geriatrics remembering their prime could be the theme song for the place. It shouldn’t be that way. This is the departure hub for all U.S. manned space flight. You’d expect its visitor’s center to be an exciting showcase for NASA’s visionary projects that are pushing the boundaries of human capability and turning science fiction into fact. But instead, we’re treated to exhibit after exhibit of forty year old accomplishments. The place is mostly a tribute to the Apollo and Saturn rocket program, which, in case anyone is interested, ended in 1975.

One imagines that when Eugene Cernan left the lunar surface in 1972 he fully expected that in the coming decades we’d make the moon our bitch. He had every reason to. In the prior ten years we vaulted from an embarrassingly earth-bound rocket program to playing golf on the moon. If the same rate of progress held through the succeeding decades, today we’d be fouling its surface with upscale condominiums and using it as a trampoline for jumping to Mars and deeper space. Instead, we never returned. Nor did we go anywhere else, for that matter. Sure, everyone got excited for a couple of days when we landed a glorified Roomba on Mars to vacuum some space dirt, but as far as heroic space exploration, we’ve done basically nothing in my lifetime. And as much as the Kennedy Space Center serves as a rightful tribute to the heroes of the Apollo program, it also stands as a depressing reminder of how little we’ve done since.

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