The giant leap for mankind was the realisation that so many of nature’s challenges were henceforth solvable. Now, when we think of nano-technology, microelectronics, stem-cell engineering and nuclear physics, nothing can be quite so awesome as that first landing!
Today I wonder if our politicians dare to dream about such lofty achievements, and I am certain that if they did we could find solutions to global warming, climate change, and energy crises.
Q: How do you think the moon landings and the international space projects influence business, if at all?
A: There are huge amounts of technical output from the NASA programmes that continue to benefit society at large, and the demands of the space environment required huge inventiveness to make things work. Inventions that we continue to enjoy include rollerball pens, freeze dried food, and memory foam mattresses!
Q: Guy, you fly an aeroplane, have you ever dreamed of flying a space rocket?
A: Honestly no, I’m quite happy within the atmosphere rather than above it. But I am fascinated with all aspects of flight, and have huge admiration for the pioneering aviators of 100 years ago who made those first flights over the Atlantic, and rapidly led to the pioneering origins of the transatlantic services we enjoy today. Those men and women – both British and American – were true adventurers driven by courage and ambition.
To make one component work in isolation is a real feat, to make a whole space craft work as a dynamic system is genuinely amazing.
Q: Do you have a favourite space film. And if so, what is it and why?
A: The best space series is undoubtedly Star-Trek, with a great mix of cinematic drama and dodgy physics. Phrases such as warp-speed, di-lithium crystals, and illogical captain are now part of everyday speech! And the best of the series is definitely Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan from 1981.
Q: Are there any other space programmes that you are following?
A: The Indian Space Research Organisation is literally amazing, and has a current plan to send a lunar orbiter and lander to the moon. This program is driven by intellect and inventiveness, and despite very modest budgets has now launched more than 50 rockets. I think I read that the first Indian rocket was developed for five million dollars!