Thursday, June 7, 2012
What's funny, though, is that, back then, manned space travel wasn't just the stuff of science fiction; it was real. When I was in school, I think we watched nearly every space shuttle launch between 1981 and 1983, stopping everything and bringing out these old TV sets for the occasion. For my children, though, space travel is almost completely science fictional. It's something that only happens in books and movies and video games, but not in the real world. The Apollo program and the space shuttle mean about as much to them as listening to soap operas on the radio meant to me as a child -- relics of a past they never knew and will never completely understand.
I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey and saw a not at all implausible projection of what men might be doing in space when I was 32 years old. Yet, here I am, living in The Future my friends and I dreamed about in the '70s and it's not at all like we were promised. I won't go so far as to say it's worse, but it is a different, less romantic future than I had hoped for. Much as it saddens me that my childhood dreams of Moon bases and space stations haven't come to pass by now, I think it saddens me more that, for my children, such ideas are nothing more than dreams and unlikely ones at that.