Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Friday, 4 November 2011

One small step for man...

Don't get me wrong; I think the Mars 500 mission has an important role to play in the development of long-range space-travel - after all, this blog was in on the start of the mission 520 days ago. It's just that...well... I mean for goodness' sake!

Watch LIVE as the hatch is opened! See six men step out from a converted submarine in a Moscow car park!

After all, it's hardly Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, is it? As far as I can see, the only people interested in seeing them emerge, blinking, into the daylight would be their families and friends.

Of more significance, perhaps, is the fact that we can watch the event. In just over 40 years - half a single lifetime - we have gone from relatively few privileged souls huddled round black-and-white televisions to a world population able to watch live action in full colour on TVs, computers and even phones almost anywhere on earth.

There's a certain irony in the fact that, while the moon has returned to its unattainable status, at least for the time being, and we are, in any case, almost enclosed in a cosmic cage of our own making, technology has significantly shrunk the Earth, at least in terms of communication.

However, there's having the power to say something and there's having something worth saying. Had the intrepid six actually been to Mars, there might well be a media frenzy beyond all imagining at their return; as it is, despite the best efforts of the European Space Agency, the story remains resolutely low-key.

Of course, that's before anyone has told the European contingent exactly what's been going on in their absence - perhaps it might be worth tuning in after all to hear the Frenchman and the Italian reacting to that.


  1. They'll have to reactivate that Nevada Desert dome again for that landing.

  2. I still think the idea of dressing the greeting party up in ape costumes has mileage!

  3. JH It would certainly make a more convincing setting that the interior of their 'space capsule' - so much fake wood it looks like a 1970s caravan. (Apparently it gave it a 'homely' atmosphere, which probably says a lot about current Russion interior design.)

    Julia - Utterly brilliant! An inspired idea, given that they've been watching sci-fi films for entertainment; I wonder if that particular one was included.