The future that was
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong made history as the first person to ever walk on the moon. The sad news of his death at age 82 on Saturday reminded me that I had saved my Halifax, Nova Scotia newspaper printed the day after he landed at Tranquility Base and uttered those famous words: "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind."
For any of us who grew up during the space race in the 60s and 70s, and especially Canadians like me who religiously watched the CTV documentary Here Come the Seventies, the moon landing was supposed to be a harbinger of what was to come.
Here Come the Seventies was a half-hour documentary series that looked ahead at anticipated technological marvels and innovations we could expect during the 70s. The show told us there'd be a colony on Mars and we'd all be traveling by electric cars and personal jet packs before the end of the decade - which, of course, we all believed.
Instead, things turned out quite differently. Space exploration budgets have been cut, even the robotic Canadarm, the pride of the Canadian Space Agency, has faded into history. It was recently retired, along with the Space Shuttle program, and is now little more than a museum artifact from a bygone era.
To quote that old sage Yogi Berra, "The future ain't what it used to be." Once, the future was spaceflight. Now it’s cat videos and status updates.
(For an auditory flashback, listen to Tillicum, the infectious musical theme from "Here Come The Seventies" by the Canadian group Syrinx.)
Other items reported in the Monday, July 21, 1969 Halifax Chronicle-Herald:
■ A complaint charging US Senator Edward Kennedy with leaving the scene of an accident (the previous Saturday), in which Mary Jo Kopechne dies, is filed in Edgartown Massachusetts.
■ In London, in a controversial acceptance of the death of the British Empire, the Duncan Report recommends that Britain scale down the rest of its global role and instead place its emphasis on joining the Common Market and "becoming an integral part of the New Europe."
■ Egyptian MiG and Sukhoi jets clash with Israeli Mirages over the Sinai for the first time since 1967. Both sides claim shooting down a number of planes. Both sides claimed victory.
■ Mario Andretti wins the Indianapolis 500.
■ Halifax Chrysler-Dodge advertises brand new Valiants for $2,290
Camera: Fujifilm X10
Focal length: 18.7mm
Exposure: M4:3 EXR, ISO100, 1/450, F/2.5
Processing: In-camera JPG, tone in Nik Color Efex Pro, textures: GrungeBox-7 - Closer, Playing With Brushes - Aged Film
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