Apollo and Popular Culture

Apollo actually took human beings to the moon and back.  Several times.
Star Wars, Star Trek, sand many other fictional pieces tried to envision a future opened up to us by the promise of Apollo.  This is a theme which continues to reverberate through popular culture and always will.
But Apollo is ancient history.  The space program beyond earth orbit today is an endangered species.
Another prevalent theme in popular culture spins more off the mystical powers of Star Wars’ “Force,” than the high-tech solutions to everyday problems seen in Star Trek.  Science Fiction, probably the most popular form of speculation about the future when I was young, reflects upon Apollo.  Fantasy, the most popular pop-fiction today, I suspect, calls entirely on magic.
That’s like Voodoo.  Or, though most hate to hear it, Christianity.
I don’t know where young people are in this struggle between science and the traditional religions, which I think is what is going on, but the politics of the Republican party in this election year casts a definite pallor over the optimism that characterized the apex of the Apollo era.  Or, at least, the optimism then held in the scientific community.
Apollo has morphed into a satellite driven technological society whose communication resources were unimagined when I grew up.  Young people are more involved in that technology than I ever imagined.
But I’m not sure what to make of the touch screen technology they are so comfortable with these days.  Is it really an advance to have moved so thoroughly to the icon from the keyboard?  It seems like moving from the typewriter to the pencil to me.  It reminds me an awful lot of the waving of wands used so powerfully by Harry Potter.  I can’t help wonder what chances the Apollo 13 crew would have had if the ground crew at the time had modern sensitivities.
Of course, they would have had to have had the technology of today.  It’s all very mysterious.  Perhaps I should just have more trust in The Force.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *