The Apollo missions were the result of a political response to the Cold War with Soviet Russia, this everyone knows. But if not for this reason would we have gone at all? Would we have gone by now? This question is certainly unknown and quite possibly unknowable altogether. It's frustrating that such endeavors were the result of super-powers flexing their political muscles instead of genuine curiosity about the universe, but nonetheless, it got us to space and has spurred many missions since. In fact, the first (and subsequent only) scientist on an Apollo mission was the very last one sent up the night of December 7th, 1972.

Forty years since we had lost interest in going back to the Moon. Until now. Various privately owned companies have expressed interest in sending missions to the Moon and beyond; NASA announced of its plans to head back, including missions to Mars by 2030. But will this happen? I can honestly say that I believe it will. Thanks to the help of great promoters like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye and many others, the public's interest in space has never been so high.

Seth MacFarlane (creator of Family Guy), who is a BIG fan of science, has great sway with prime-time television. He has personally backed the reboot of Cosmos, by Carl Sagan. He's teamed up with Ann Druyan and Neil deGrasse Tyson and has convinced Fox to air all new episodes on their prime-time viewing hours. This is absolutely unprecedented! Science programs have pretty much been limited to the Discovery Networks, PBS or various other strictly educational channels.... But not any more!

I think that this will be a turning point in TV programming, I really do. You know how major networks are - they always compete with each other. One airs a new show about police detectives and the other responds with their own version. I think that the very same will happen once Cosmos airs, and I really hope that other networks will respond and jump on the bandwagon.

I know this entry has been pretty scatter-brained, but this is something that excites me. I look forward to the public getting bombarded with more science and less reality TV, which I think is the reason why we've become a dumbed-down society.

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Comment by Marni Anbar on January 23, 2013 at 10:02pm

As someone who was born the very day Apollo 11 landed on the moon, I am looking forward to seeing us go back.

Interestingly enough, Craig Barrett, former CEO of Intel and one of the founders of a very successful/controversial group of Charter Schools in AZ  spoke at an education conference I was at about 18 months ago and cited the Cold War and subsequent Space Race as the key ingredient which spurred education (particularly in math and science) to a significantly better level than any prior manifestations in our country.  His point was that as a nation we need to psych ourselves into the same type of race/crisis mindset to spur the next growth in education since the education crisis itself doesn't seem to be enough to do it. I think it would be interesting to use the challenge of staying on the Moon permanently or sending people to Mars as the catalyst for this type of advancement.  

So there's a ramble right back atcha

    

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