Thanks to RocketForge, I found this heartfelt post from Rand Simberg about the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Apollo moon landings. I especially appreciate his hopeful thoughts on the future:
Thirty-five years after Neil and Buzz walked on the moon, we have neither the NASA Mars base, or the huge spinning space colonies. But we're finally seeing new progress on a front in between those two visions. Forty years after the end of the X-15 program, we're recapitulating some of the early NASA program privately, and diversely, with the efforts of Burt Rutan and the other X-Prize contestants and suborbital ventures. They won't be diverted down a costly dead-end path of giant throwaway rockets. Instead they'll slowly and methodically evolve capabilities and markets, creating the infrastructure for low-cost access to space. Once we can afford to get, in Heinlein's immortal words, "halfway to anywhere," we'll finally be able to return to the moon, to complete the job begun by those first voyagers, and this time we'll be able to stay.
The key word here, I think, is "evolve": pursuing space in an organic, sustainable fashion through private initiatives, leading not just to exploration but to permanent settlement.
Peter Saint-Andre > Journal