Fly me to the moon

June 13, 2006

A Briefer History of TimeIN MY father’s lifetime, he went from driving a horse-and-cart to flying a spitfire. He saw space technology, the rise of the PC and the increased computerization of cars.

In my lifetime, if the next lunar liftoff is successful, there will have been two moon landings, one of which I will actually remember, the internet has evolved from being for institutions to being an institution. Cars are going electric and we’re 20 years into the human genome project.

This stuff all just blows the tiny brain cell I have left, away. Yes, there’s the dark side of it all — nuclear threat, pollution, hole in the ozone, cancer induced by all the impurities of our modern world, globalization, AIDS… a morbid, scary and seemingly endless list. But we’re also putting on the brakes.

If ever humans had to make a case before the Council of United Galaxies and the Universal Government as to why Earth should not be blown up to make way for an interspace wormhole, we have a few saving graces, a few heroes to justify our existence: Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, Stephen Hawking. We have concepts like ubuntu and a desire to surf the moon. We are capable of great generosity and innovative ways of spreading it.

True, our curiosity has gotten us into trouble, but it can probably go a long way to getting us out of trouble too — Hawking’s advice is for us to start those moon colonies in the next 20 years. And we probably will. Humankind does not want to self-destruct. We have too much to look forward to; we’re waiting for the better face of science fiction to become fact. The eternal quest for a utopia.

And if I can still walk, you bet I’m going to the moon.

To infinity and beyond

Beam me up, said Scotty: a BBC report on the late James Doohan’s desire for his ashes to be sent into space