It was a supplement to the New Zealand Herald, commemorating the first humans on the moon on 21 July 1969. Grandma bought all us kids a copy and I still have it. I found a second copy at a second-hand store in Christchurch a couple of years ago. Five dollars. The original edition was 40 cents.
Tintin went to the moon earlier, in 1953 – Explorers on the Moon – published as a book in 1954 following the serialised story in Tintin magazine from late 1952 to the end of 1953.
And who would have imagined that in 2021 William Shatner “Captain James T. Kirk” would actually go into space. It wasn’t exactly the Enterprise, and he didn’t visit faraway solar systems in the Milky Way, but it’s a remarkable achievement.
When Herge imagined Tintin and friends landing on the moon, it was visionary. There are many aspects of the story that aren’t real – well like the whole story! – but the author made considerable effort to get many of the scientific details accurate as they were known at that time. I like that fact. I also like that it imagined a future that actually came to be fifteen years later, when the Lunar Module took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin from Apollo 11, and they alighted and spent three hours walking around and conducting experiements.
Not everyone enjoys that billionaires can and have commenced space tourism. I enjoy the vision, the human endeavour and determination to get to that point. The challenge and hurdles to be faced and overcome are remarkable. To test that – just for a moment, I thought about the challenges I face in everyday work – behaviours, team allocations, minor disagreements, outputs to clients – all pretty mundane and I think I have a pretty invigorating and challenging work.
Leaders with real vision can create step changes. At the time, it’s not always a big deal, sometime it’s ridiculed: what use is that?, “it’s just a big ego trip” or “why not spend the money to solve actual problems?“
We need leaders who aren’t in the weeds, leaders who envision big step changes and take action. It doesn’t mean not dealing with current challenges. We need both: looking after the past and present challenges, and making leaps forward for humanity too.
And I love space. Who doesn’t? Seems like an ideal topic for a long weekend in Lockdown!