When We Left Earth
White House May 31, 2008
At ISDC we received gift boxes from Discovery Channel containing Astronaut Ice Cream and preview copies of WHEN WE LEFT EARTH. The series premiering Sunday in the US presents footage of humans going to the Moon in HD. It includes interviews with many of those involved, even Neil Armstrong. Flight Director Eugene "failure is not an option" Kranz offers some surprisingly philosophical words.
"The power of Space was to raise our aspirations to those things that are possible," Kranz punches his words for emphasis, "if we will commit."
"If we will commit" is a challenge. It is easy for nations or individuals to lose focus when things get difficult. Leaving Earth orbit requires development of hardware and huge new boosters. As with Apollo, the commitment must extend across different administrations and political parties. Dreams of landing on Mars or asteroids depend upon reaching escape velocity.
Last week we met with representatives of all three presidential candidates. (That number will shortly be reduced to two.) As if in response, today in Florida one candidate came out in favour of people to Mars. He claimed that one of his favourite books as a child was THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES. Whoever becomes president, the commitment must continue. If not, the brief time When We Left Earth will fade into history.