Are Rockin’ Special Effects the Enemy of Space Travel?

I grew up in the golden era of space travel.  Manned missions to the moon were national news that led the national conversation.  It stopped us in our tracks when the 3 television stations (yes, three) broadcast images of Americans in space.35123367_s

The subsequent crash in the will to seek the stars has been blamed on economics, the national zeitgeist, the Challenger disaster, etc.  However, I think a lot of it has to do with the combination of special effects, CGI and its expansion of our imaginative horizons.

You see, when it comes to space travel, we suck.  Really suck.  We detonate bombs beneath tin cans to shoot them up in space hoping against hope they don’t explode in the process.  It takes a small forever to get from here to the frickin’ moon, which is about a zillionth of a millimeter in the context of space.  We can’t stay there for any length of time.  Plus, now we know that the place is a great big nothingburger so why go?

In the meantime, we’ve watched the Starship Enterprise grow sleeker, faster, and more miraculous with every incarnation.  We’ve witnessed worlds with multiple planetary colonies, between which denizens zip in space vehicles more efficient than our elevators.

We simply can’t compete with the images that bombard us.  We can’t live up to the sci-fi standard that’s been planted in our heads.  I fear that until our space exploits comprise more than not going boom on the way to some desolate rock within spitting distance, few will be willing to expend the requisite hundreds of billions to keep plugging along.

The “space age” of the 60s was supposed to bring us all manner of bounty.  By the turn of the century we were supposed to be jetting around in flying cars and jetpacks.  The idea that we’d be poisoning ourselves with corroded lead pipes from antiquated water systems was not a consideration.

Compared to our 60s grand visions, we’ve disappointed ourselves in almost every way.  The space program is only one.

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– Leonce Gaiter, VP of Content & Strategy

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