Social media trailer from 2019
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Running time: 11 minutes
In 1902 cinematic pioneer Georges Melies made a film fantasizing a trip to the moon. The following year, in 1903, the Wright brothers completed the first powered flight in North Carolina, USA. 66 years later, men actually walked on the moon.
The rapid development of technology from the beginning of the 20th century (when Melies was at the cutting edge of cinema) to July 1969 - when three American astronauts would literally embark on a trip to the moon - is awe inspiring.
I'm not saying there is a direct connection between this turn of the century fantasy and the American space program, or that Melies actually dreamed of travelling to the moon, but nonetheless the progression of this idea in a single human lifetime from total fantasy to scientific reality is one of the most amazing phenomena to be found anywhere in human history.
A child of 10 in 1902 when Melies' film was first screened could have witnessed the actual moon landings as a 77-year-old. Even in spite of all the evils of the 20th century, this accomplishment - as both a human achievement and world unifying event - whilst it doesn't bring redemption as such, does represent, at the very least, hope for the human race. It demonstrates what human beings are capable of when engaged in creation rather than destruction.
This was surely the sentiment which inspired then President Richard Nixon to say to the safely returned crew of Apollo 11 that as a result of what they'd done "the world [had] never been closer together before". A statement later exemplified by astronaut Dave Scott of Apollo 15 who left behind a plaque bearing the names of the 14 American and Soviet astronauts who had lost their lives in the pursuit of space exploration.
It was also Scott who said, as he was taking his first steps on the moon:
"Okay Huston, as I stand out here in the wonders of the unknown...I realize there's a fundamental truth to our nature. Man must explore..."