As long as I’m having fun with YouTube’s “start here” feature, note this standard-issue awesome impassioned Shatner speech by Captain Kirk in “Return to Tomorrow”:
Do you wish that the first Apollo mission hadn’t reached the moon, or that we hadn’t gone on to Mars, and then to the nearest star?
As Torie Atkinson says, though, this is really quite cool, because the episode aired originally on February 9, 1968:
Here is a fictional future starship captain referencing a real-life scientific accomplishment that hasn’t happened yet but is accepted as part of human history.
In fact, it’s even cooler than that, isn’t it? For not only had the Apollo program not yet reached the moon, the episode was almost certainly written, shot, and definitely was aired during the grim hiatus between the lethal Apollo 1 capsule fire and the resumption of manned missions, when humankind’s arrival on the moon would have seemed even a shakier proposition than otherwise.
Atkinson goes on to say,
It’s presented as something that will happen, absolutely, without reservation, because men can do that. Because men will always reach beyond them for answers to “Why?”
Though “always” is maybe a bit overoptimistic. We still haven’t the slightest prospect of getting to Mars.
It illustrates my ignorance that I always thought Kennedy’s line, “We choose to go to the moon and do the other things” was merely awkward. I didn’t know until a recent visit to Kennedy Space Center with the kids that “the other things” was in there so he could omit repeating a goofy joke about “Why does Rice play Texas?”
And, as long as I’m just linking away with bare relevance, in re JFK: this week On the Media re-aired a 2002 interview with Fred Kaplan about the various versions of what happened during the Cuban missile crisis. And, to dig really deep into the Internets, here’s me on the Cuban missile crisis from 2001 in (hey, I get, or got, around) the Mail on Sunday.