The space age started fifty years ago with the launch of Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957. Launches continue to this day, but I can’t help but feel the space age ended when Apollo 17 returned to Earth on December 19, 1972.

Many countries have launched unmanned scientific missions returning torrents of data about the universe around us. As important as these investigations are, no nation has made any move to expand the human frontier. We haven’t travelled beyond low Earth orbit for thirty-five years! This spectacular failure of imagination and potential saddens me.