This week is 50 years since the historic Apollo 11 human mission to the surface of the Moon. I have been very busy with the media over the last days who want to cover this anniversary. The more I talk about it, the more I get a bit angry.
I realize more and more, that Apollo 11 was too quick and too soon. Yes, it was a marvelous demonstration of US technical superiority. It showed the world that anything could be done, as long as you stick to doing it. The only thing is, after 6 Apollo missions to the Moon, humans basically stopped exploring Space apart from setting up shop in low Earth Orbit (LEO) with the International Space Station. We didn't put up a human base on the Moon. We didn't put boots on Mars. We didn't explore the Asteroids. That is all still in the future. Why? With the exponential growth of scientific knowledge and technical achievements since Apollo, it could have all been done, and bring humanity even more prosperity.
Apollo was driven by a political motive fuelled by the cold war. This motive has now disappeared but apparantly, that is what you need to accomplish these great achievements. That makes me sad.
Another thing that I find worrying, has to do with the historic recollection of how the Apollo programme came to be. People remember the great US architect for Apollo: Werner von Braun, and think he was just a great friend of Walt Disney. What they often don't realize, is that this man was the technical mastermind of Hitler's V2 bombs used in WW2. They were launched from the The Hague area, very closeby were I live, and cost the lives of many, in the factories in Germany, in the Hague and in London, the destination of the bombs. Yes, the US was one of the liberators that helped removing Hitler and his awfull Nazi's. But the US was also thinking about a future place in geopolitics, and for that, they captured the Nazi scientists that they could use, to help out on US National security agenda. Werner von Braun was one of them, and it seems that a whitewashing for his past actions was done, and to make him into the Apollo hero that he became to be.