Topic: "Falcon" (8)
"The time will come when diligent research will bring to light things which now lie hidden. A single lifetime, even though devoted entirely to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject. . .And so this knowledge will be unfolded only through long successive ages. There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them. . .Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced. Out universe is a sorry little affair unless it has in it something for every age to investigate. . .Nature does not reveal her mysteries once and for all."--From the first century, Book 7 of 'Natural Questions' authored by he known as Seneca.
The United Federation of Planets it was which Frodo accepted as that beyond his time, which would go where no man has gone before. Surely, it would be a governmental body, lead by its best and its brightest soldiers and scientists, who would unite in the conquest of the 400 billion stars that comprise the Milky Way. To his great embarrassment, the Hobbit made an assumption too big to fail.
Armstrong and Cernan were among those who testified before the Congress of the United States (certainly a come-down from the United Federation of Planets) in order to maintain the status quo of NASA and the superiority of Middle Earth in Space. In the end, it was the resources of a South African named Musk who, though chagrined by his heroes and their opposition to his private enterprise that won the day, and set a non-governmental business to the forefront of the cosmos.
It is as we have become. The incentive for exploration can no longer simply be in the search for truth, it requires that there be investors, who seek a return, and that all effort be driven by their motive. Perhaps Columbus, appearing before the crowned heads felt much the same way, knowing that he would have to return with something of value, as well as an opening to the future of all mankind.
Still, it will be oh so strange to see the surface of Mars, and the logo of Lockheed where our flag might have been.