By Martin Robbins, The Guardian, 08.26.12
Nobody born after 1935 has walked on the moon. Nobody since the nineteen thirties. The children of eight decades since have still not made it back there, or reached further to touch the red dust of Mars.
Neil Armstrong's death means that the first man on the Moon will never meet the first man on Mars. It is a chilling reminder that we are unlikely to reach another planet in the lifetimes of any of the surviving Apollo astronauts. It may not happen in my parents' lifetimes. I'm beginning to lose faith that it will even happen in my lifetime. How have we allowed this to happen?
I think about how far I've traveled compared to my distant ancestors.
In the last twelve months alone I've flown around 25,000 miles – once
around the Earth – covering more ground in a single year than most of
the humans who have ever lived did in their lifetimes, scurrying around
their local villages and regions. I've always assumed that my travels
would seem similarly unimpressive to my star-hopping descendants.
As a child of the eighties, that's what I learned to expect, that each generation travels further and faster and better than the last. By the time I was a grown-up we would be whizzing around in bullet trains and hypersonic jets, and I'd honeymoon with my wife on the sandy shores of the Sea of Tranquility. All music would be synth pop, and hemlines would have risen to somewhere around the belly-button.
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