Fifty years ago today, the Soviet Union launched the first human-made satellite, Sputnik, and began the era of space exploration. In Prospect‘s May 2001 issue, Michael Lind and James Pinkerton debated whether humans would colonise space or not. In March 2003, in the wake of the Columbia tragedy, Ian Crawford put the case for manned spaceflight; earlier this year, he argued that the aerospace industry should switch its attention from arms sales to space. Lastly, Oliver Morton gauged George Bush’s interest in his space programme, and explains why we shouldn’t go to Mars.
UPDATE I see that today is also the 25th anniversary of the death of pianist Glenn Gould. (For those interested in his life, Erik Tarloff praised a recent biography of Gould in our May 2004 issue.) An extract of one of Gould’s recordings of Bach was placed on the spacecraft Voyager 1, which has since left the galaxy to become the most distant human-made in object in space.