Well-known novel by the literary master Grahame Greene it may be, however person of the week in my book is undoubtedly Mr Neil Armstrong who has narrowly pipped namesake Lance of Tour de France fame and 59 year old golf legend Tom Watson to the title. Lance is destined to come up short of pulling on his 8th Yellow Jersey and Tom had to settle for runners-up spot at the British Open, a title he last won in 1983. He was aiming for a record-equaling 6th victory. Neil will always be number one.
It’s no wonder he became a recluse, the autograph signing and constant repetitive banal questions must have got to him. The guy was a gent as far as I could tell from the documentaries, brave and mild-mannered. He deserves his peace. These astronauts were never really prepared for the movie star lifestyle and all the pomp and glitz which came with being an international superstar. It’s no surprise, he decided to hide away far from the madding crowd.
There can’t be many people who haven’t re-lived the Moon landings this week or indeed discovered anew the inspirational adventures of Apollo 11 and its crew.
I believe I’ve watched around 3 documentaries on the subject myself and it amazes me that there are so many who still sign up to the conspiracy theories that NASA somehow faked the moon landing in order to pip the Russians to the coveted prestigious honour of being first on the dusty globe.
Youtube is inundated with these hoax theories but dabble a little into the topic and you’ll soon find independent evidence from the Japanese probe SELENE which has photographed the Apollo landing sites courtesy of the blast halos left behind on the surface when the lunar modules took off back into space. As there’s no wind on the moon, the circles have never been displaced.
Personally, as a child I used to gaze at the ghostly old sphere on a clear night and imagine astronauts up there, I wondered if they were there whilst I was looking, in fact I only discovered recently that the last mission (Apollo 17) left the moon in 1972, the year of my birth.
So I’ll just have to hang around until we make it to Mars, projected date circa 2040 according to one of my trainees. The fact that it would apparently take us 10 years to travel there under current technology begs the question ‘Who’s going to be willing to participate?’. 20+ years of your life spent inside a floating metal box with idle chit-chat, Wii and maybe even Play Station to keep you occupied seems a bit much to me.
A round-trip to the moon took 8 days, now that’s more like a holiday and something I could handle. If there turns out to be no minerals or petrol up there then I could see it becoming a popular destination for us Brits. In a few years time there’s bound to be time-share villas, golf courses and chip shops sprawling out over the terrain, just remember you read it here first..