Reflections on Countdown to the Moon a year ago – 1829 – Samid

Samid’s family and my family are friends. We attend each other’s celebrations. Samid is the same age as Stephen, my oldest son. Samid had come over to see Stephen while they both were in town from college.

He was just the perfect person to interview. Samid said, “If you go up to people randomly on the street and asked, ‘How would you like for us to go to the moon in 2024?’ they would be excited about it, even if they did not know anything about space.

I can say that after a year of interviewing people (about 80 of which was literally going up to people on the street, in the stores, in the coffee shops, getting off the elevator at the hotel I happened to be in), that most people are excited about the prospect of us going back to the moon. Having humanity out in space pushing further can make us all feel like we are part of something greater. That we are actually making some visible, obvious progress.

How do we measure progress? We can definitely do it economically. Are we making more? Are things cheaper to buy? We can also get a feel from the news stories. Are their protests? Are parades of celebration? We also hear about the global warming, pollution and the like. War or no war? Beggars or everyone with a way to meet their needs in a dignified way? These are all slippery things. And there is no obvious improvements. But to see humanity on the moon when the last time was 1972. That! That is something we can understand and see and point to. And when we start having people routinely going and coming from the moon. Staying there longer times. Sharing with us the stories of the adventure, the risk, the challenges, the boredom, the discovers, the teamwork, the new insights.. “While I was walking on the moon, it occurred to me that….” (I can’t wait to hear the end of that sentence.)

Samid mentioned that in his childhood there would be projects that were something like “If you have a vacation on the moon, what would it be like.” and now with the work by NASA, SpaceX, Blue Origin, and others the idea of a holiday on the moon does not seem so remote.

The Economist magazine published an editorial called “Plague Year” and it was pointing out how the lockdowns have caused acceleration of some systemic challenges. Working from home is a proven concept. It works. It saves time. It is not necessary for us to be in the same office. In fact, it is undesirable. Because of the cost of the office. Because of the cost of time. Because of the risk of contagion. We can work remotely, and we can work better. We need the social interactions, but it does not necessary need to be in a central office every day of every week. It could be weekly get togethers or something like that.

Also, the pandemic has people not travelling but wishing more than ever to travel. People not doing the things they were used to, but wanting to do more than ever. “Life is not for hoarding but for living.”

The Economist article looks at parallels between the period of World War 1 and the Spanish Flu and the fact that led to the roaring 20s. And it supposes that we are about to enter another roaring 20s, but this time we have aviation, and space travel, and the internet. World Wide, High speed, low latency internet is about to be a thing and from multiple providers.

Tom Cruise is going to space in 2021. There will be several space tourists over the next couple of year. Virgin Galactic will also be flying people. Hopefully New Shepard will be up and working soon. And Space perspectives will be taking people to the edge of the atmosphere. And SpaceX will develop the Starship. It is happening! which is echoing the

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