It’s hard to believe it’s been fifty years since the famous voyage to Earth’s humble, lone satellite. It’s also a tad disgraceful that we haven’t been back since 1972.
I’ve written quite a bit about space exploration in a qualitative way—that is, more on the metaphysical and symbolic importance of space exploration, rather than the quantitative, technical side. I’ve always found the topic fascinating, and it seems logical that humanity’s next frontier would be the final one.
Humans are explorers and innovators by nature, and these qualities are even further enhanced in the freedom-loving culture and ideals of Americans. We love the thrill of conquering insurmountable problems. Technical problems are just that—riddles to be solved, not obstacles beyond our comprehension.
While listening to the radio this morning, a professor at nearby Francis Marion University (I actually went to graduate school with him while he was completing his Ph.D.) was talking about the failures of accomplished French engineers to construct an isthmian canal in Panama. The United States, under the leadership of the robust Theodore Roosevelt, built the Panama Canal under budget and under time. What the greatest engineers could not accomplish—the very same ones who built the Suez Canal—Americans were able to do with ingenuity and panache.
We can extend that same ingenuity and innovation to space—or any problem, even a border wall. Doing so would reinvigorate our space program, but also our common sense of a nation striving towards greatness.