I was astonished to find out that yesterday, the 19th Dec, was the 40th anniversary of the splashdown of Apollo 17 at the end of the last manned mission to the moon. As someone who grew up studying Maths and Physics during the Apollo years, the events of those times formed indelible memories for me. Living in the UK meant my experiences were always second-hand, but as the communication satellite network was also growing alongside this, television started providing access to all these wonders. I think that this was the major factor in popularising the Apollo project world-wide, enabling us to feel much closer and involved with it. I just remember feeling awed and excited by it all.
Would this same level of excitement and involvement occur nowadays? I think not. We have become so blasé about communication and technology, and it has become so deeply embedded in our society and culture that it has lost all sense of wonder. You see it with coverage of current wars and events. People are bombarded with 24 hour rolling news programmes, multi-media coverage of often banal events, and so much information available that people just switch off, mentally if not physically.
Finally, it was an article in a newspaper last Sunday (now there’s a fading format!), that reminded me of the anniversary. The article also said that more than half of the world’s current population were not even born in 1972. How long will it be before nobody remembers that 12 men have stood on the moon?