When I was a kid space travel was being suggested as a reality for the first time, but who would go? The greatest minds from our planet, obviously. Ambassadors from the Earth who had earned, through bravery, achievement, diligence, genius and innovation, the right to set forth into the star field as representatives at the very pinnacle of human civilisation.
Instead, it’s been disclosed that the early Virgin Galactic flights will have on board Paris Hilton, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Princess Beatrice and Ashton Kutcher. So it’s less NASA and more like The Jetsons. Although Judy Jetson didn’t solely owe her fame to appearing in a sex tape, as far as I can remember. They’ll be travelling with Formula 1 drivers Rubens Barrichello and Niki Lauda, scientists James Lovelock and Stephen Hawking, so they’ll obviously have a lot to catch up on.
What went wrong? It turns out that the bright new future is for the super-rich only. Not the educated, the dedicated or even the religious, who must content themselves with woolly promises of an afterlife. It appears that the concept of the Protestant work ethic had flaws we could scarcely imagine.
A recent factoid being touted about by the press at the moment is that one in four born now will live to be 100. Somehow, I don’t think that applies to all of us equally, either.
Oh, and by the way, there’s a live action Jetsons movie coming. Perhaps it will star Ashton Kutcher.