"vintage Nasa photographs, 1964-1983 -An exhibition detailing the achievements of Nasa – covering the golden age of space exploration – featuring over 100 rare photographs" - The Guardian on the For All Mankind exhibition at Breese Little gallery, London, 22nd January – 22nd February 2014
This is tomorrow, again?
So asserts the For All Mankind catalogue:
"The achievements of NASA and the Apollo programme languished in the popular imagination from the end of the 1970s until the early 2000s, neglected in the wake of previous euphoria. The exploration of Mars, space tourism, the commercial satellite market and China’s recent rover landing on the Moon are clear signals that space exploration is once again at the very forefront of public and, increasingly, private agendas. The exploration of space has likewise renewed its grip on the popular consciousness. Motion pictures such as Moon (2009), Gravity (2013) and Interstellar (due for release 2014) are fresh examples of the narrative possibilities of space in the Hollywood science fiction tradition."
Definitely does seem to be an uptick of cultural interest in outer space, for no apparent reason.
However, the actual "space exploration, it's ON again" stuff that's been happening recently.... Okay, it's cool that it's going on on at all, after such a long hiatus... China's Moon rover indicates serious intent to restart the space race, even if it is mostly impelled by the urge to flex geopolitical muscle (make space a Chinese place). (India too has grand plans, for similar reasons).
But if you think about it, all China has done is repeat something that was achieved 43 years ago. Not even repeat it, because NASA got a bunch of human beings on the lunar surface - a much huger endeavour than getting an inanimate entity, a titchy robo-vehicle, up there. So far at least, the People's Republic has reinvented the wheel, and on a miniature scale.
Branson's Virgin flights into the bit of space just above the atmosphere - again, it's hardly vacations on the Moon, is it?
lift-off of the final Apollo mission to the Moon in 1972, the one with the Eugene Cirnan monologue that Daft Punk used on "Contact"