Cumulus Partners

4. September 2010 02:49

Lost moon

4. September 2010 02:49 by mike barlow | 0 Comments

Last night I spent a couple of hours watching cable and listening to Gene Kranz talk about the Apollo missions. The program aired on C-SPAN 3, and it was part of a longer oral history project undertaken in the late 1990s. For fans of the "Apollo 13" movie, Kranz was the guy in the white vest played by Ed Harris. Kranz was the NASA flight director who, among other accomplishments, helped Neil and Buzz set down on the moon in 1969 and guided the successful rescue of the Apollo 13 astronauts after an explosion crippled their spacecraft on its way to the moon.

But listening to Kranz was like listening to a guy talking about building the pyramids. I was a teenager when the Apollo missions were launched, but from a cultural perspective, it seems as though they happened thousands of years ago. The distance we've traveled as a culture since those days is astonishing. The journey took us to some better places, but we also managed to lose a lot of our stuff on the long trip. I simply cannot imagine assembling a team of people with the same levels of discipline, intelligence, experience, imagination, energy, talent and focus that came together under the NASA umbrella back in the 1960s.

The 1960s were special -- the dawning of the Age of Aquarius! But they were also the ending of an era, and I worry about some of the baggage that we tossed out the windows as we drove into the future.