Back in the 1960’s, it cost the USA $25 billion for the Apollo space programme, the pinnacle of which was the first manned landing on 20 July 1969.
6 hours later Armstrong stepped on to the surface.
Most of us who were alive at the time can remember when we were doing.
I was a 15-year old and staying over at my grandparent’s house in Ashton-Under-Lyne, Manchester. We had stayed up all evening watching the BBC coverage and my folks had gone to bed. I was asleep on the sofa in their modest “2 up, 2 down” terraced house and keeping an eye on the small black & white TV in the corner. I remember waking just as Armstrong stepped off the ladder and uttered his famous words.
For a moment, humanity was united in celebration and wonder.
Last night we witnessed the culmination of a 10-year journey, at a cost of almost $3 billion, to send a satellite to orbit and (hopefully) land on a comet travelling at 34,000 mph around the sun.
The science is mind blowing – and yet I’ll bet nobody in 45 years from now will remember the event, let alone what they were doing at the time.
The news of this amazing human achievement is squeezed in between speculation on how David and Boris will get along and what the Palestinians and Israelis are going to do to each other next.
Homo Sapiens is, indeed, a “wise ape” but we do seem to show up on the wise or the ape scale on a regular basis.
It remains to be seen which of those two characteristics will dominate.