Lost in Space:

Megan McArdle perfectly expresses my feelings - my sadness and disappointment, in fact - on this anniversary of the lunar landing:

If you're like me (and I know many of you are), you grew up reading the science fiction of the 1940's and 1950's, promising a quick and rapid expansion into the solar system, and not too long thereafter, the galaxy. Your young mind tried, and failed, to fathom the vastness of the empty gulfs between the stars. But there was one thing you knew: you wanted to go. During the incomprehensibly lengthy interval between you and adulthood, man would surely prepare itself to go to Mars and beyond, and you were going to be among the pioneers.

Four years before I was born, man walked on the moon for the first time, the most magnificent single feat our little tribe of East African Plains Apes has ever managed. Now we don't even do that. What happened to the dream? Government mismanagement, yes, but something more than that, too, some failure of imagination and will.

I hope that by the fiftieth anniversary some people, somewhere, will have regained the momentum that pushed mankind into our first tenative baby step towards the stars.

(I was one of the few people alive at the time in the developed world, I guess, who didn't see the walk on the moon. By some unaccountable fiasco, I was at Boy Scout camp, and we had gone on a fifty mile hike into the Sierra backcountry. How a boy scout camp would make such a mistake, I have no idea, but anyway, the one small step happened while I was getting sunburned in the Sierra Nevada.)