f you ever have major surgery on the horizon, make sure you pick your television bingeing carefully. During my recent knee surgery, I couldn’t have picked a better week to be off work than the week of the 50th anniversary of the NASA moon landing.
Hours on hours on hours of documentaries on the small step for man and the giant leap for mankind. Apollo 11 happened missed me by a couple of years, and while I’ve seen nearly all of these grainy images before, I watched nearly every one while recovering.
Fifty years. The computing power in the Lunar Lander was 256 k or one-quarter of what would be in the first IBM home computers sold a decade later. In the 80’s, Apple and Windows computers would engage in an arms race for the next 40 years. Now, you carry more computing power in your pocket than 100,000 Apollo 11 lunar landers.
Two things struck me when we think of the men and women responsible for the lunar landings 50 years ago. The first is that they had to invent literally everything for the first time. And it had to be perfect. But once invented, the technology was turned over to the public. They would eventually evolve to iPhones and computers and electronic elevators and pacemakers and even a lightbulb that you can turn from blue to green from your phone.
What will the next 50 years bring us? The cost of the Apollo missions was in the billions of dollars, but it created trillions or more of innovation and advancement of humanity. Today, it may not be able to be done by any one government, but rather an Elon Musk or a Jeff Bezos.
P.S. I’m still waiting on my flying car.
The second thing that struck me is that humanity stopped for one night on July 20, 1969 to celebrate man’s achievement of reaching the heavens. It remains the highest watch broadcast across the county. More than 9/11 coverage. More than Kennedy’s assassination. More than Season 7 of The Bachelor final rose ceremony.
What would ever beat that? Unfortunately, it’s hard to imagine that when it does happen, that it would be anything as unifying as a moon landing. Man will step foot on Mars in the next 10 years, but would that be a seminole earth-stopping event? Or will it be 45 minutes of trending on Twitter so that we can get to the final rose ceremony of Season 34 of The Bachelor.
My sincere hope is that it would be the announcement of a cure for cancer or Alzheimers disease or even the common cold.
Fifty years is not a long time in humanity. Except they’re reverse dog years in the technology age – an age Apollo 11 helped user in. What documentaries will I be watching 50 years from now when I’m fitted for my robotic Bluetooth hip? In today’s world, it’s almost impossible to believe it would be an advancement of mankind like we’ve done the past 50 years.
Then again, 51 years ago, nobody thought they could land on the moon. In the meantime, I’ll keep healing my knee in hopes I will take the keys soon to my flying car.
(Follow Chris Kamler and all of his knees on Twitter where he is known as @TheFakeNed. You can also track him down on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube)