Saturday, November 20, 2010

One Small Step

This evening Liz and I met up with our German friends Andreas & Diane to see Oxford Playhouse's One Small Step. Two actors, playing 41 characters, told the story of the 1960s American-Soviet space race, using a bewildering variety of lo-tech props, from a Saturn V tower of cardboard boxes to a lunar-module coffee flask which docked with its cup.

Interesting to see what a (young) China's audience would make of it all. China's space programme didn't really begin until 1967 with the top secret Project 714 (intriguingly, Tintin's Flight 714 was published the following year so maybe it wasn't that much of a secret?), but not a lot happened over the next few decades. However, Shenzhou 5 finally put a man into orbit in 2003, the third country in the world to do so. A couple of months ago it was announced that China would send a man to the moon by 2025.
I remember the excitement of my parents waking me up to watch the first moon landing in '69. As we left the theatre and wandered out into the cold streets of Beijing and looked up to a full moon, it seemed incredible that some humans, not too dissimilar to us, flew there, wandered around on it a bit, then came back... and rather sad that manned space exploration has all but fizzled out.

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