The Martian reminds me of a time when America dreamt big.
It’s not that we don’t have some marvelous dreamers now, but there was a time when we knew we had huge problems — war, racial discord, civil unrest, the threat of nuclear annihilation, hunger — and yet we somehow found the time and the will to send human beings to the Moon. We planned those Moon trips before we even knew how to put spacecraft into orbit, dock, and a hundred other things required for a trip to our nearest astronomical neighbor. We didn’t even know how to keep men alive that long in that environment.
But we did it anyway.
Yes, I concede part of that vision was borne out of embarrassment, embarrassment that the evil commies had managed to get a man up there first. But you know, there’s nothing wrong with that. And yes, part of the advances made in the space program was to make sure that we could lob nukes to Moscow with rockets because they obviously had the capability of lobbing some back, but we still got a pretty damn big dream out of it — landing humans on the Moon and returning them safely to the earth. Not once, but several times. And not just several times, but enough times that we got bored with it.
Would that we could do things like that again. There’s nothing stopping us but a lack of will. It’s not about money and it’s not about our earthbound problems because we had those then too. It’s just a lack of will. That’s all.
I hope before I die America finds its “Let’s see what’s out there!” attitude again.