Forty years ago today the world changed. Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon.
Of course there are always changes and to say that one event is the important in human history is hyperbole but in my life time that must be the most important event.
My childhood from the age of 5 was overshadowed by the Apollo missions, it was a living Science Fiction film. Whether I was really aware of the enormity of what was happening I doubt seeing that grainy black and white pictures made me go WOW!!! It was almost a certainty that there would be moon bases and trips to Mars.
Alas it never happened. OK I know it was horrendously expensive but the spins off have been huge and surely it was a better use of money than Vietnam or Iraq? or for that matter spending millions on flipping sportsman and actors.
The bravery of the Astronauts (and let us not forget the Soviet Cosmonauts) was immense. There is probably more computing power in a mobile phone than was used on Apollo 11! They used Slide Rules for goodness sake and Armstrong landed manually.
Many years later the Science Fiction writer wrote an exceedingly good novel about the first manned trip to Titan. One review although enjoying the novel thought it unrealistic that anyone would volunteer for what, in the book, was a one way trip. In a later column he admitted that subsequently one leading astronaut and told him that they would have gone at the drop of a hat.
These people, like Columbus, Magellan and Cook of an earlier era, were/are a different breed to you and I. Not for them 2 weeks in the South of Spain and a pension plan. They sought to expand the frontiers of the human mind and were prepared to risk all to do it.
Will we go back? I do hope so, I'm not bothered who does it but I think its important as man is a questing searching beast. Others argue that the money would be better spent feeding the poor but I tend to the view that the spin offs would have a greater impact.