A half-century after Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface; the moon landing stays each a monumental achievement for humanity and a powerfully resonant image of American greatness. If in case you have any doubts of the latter, simply watch a bunch of political campaign advertisements. Pictures from the Apollo 11 mission usually function visual shorthand for the nation’s technological prowess and may-do spirit. Now combine in some quick-cut World War Two footage (US troops marching via Paris, the Iwo Jima flag-raising), lay down a Hans Zimmer-esque score, and the consequence appears a patriotic mini-blockbuster directed by Michael Bay.
So it’s not stunning that when politicians wish to appear as visionary leaders and make a visceral attraction to voters, their eyes flip back to the skies. America’s three most up-to-date presidents, despite many philosophical variations, all agree that putting an American on Mars is a crucial national goal. In his latest Fourth of July speech, President Trump advised the crowd that “we’re going to be back on the moon very soon, and, sometimes soon, we’ll plant the American flag on Mars.” And while Democrats in attendance may need to be hated that Trump was talking at all, they probably appreciated the thought. A current Gallup poll finds support for a Mars mission is rising, with 53% in favor and both parties equally supportive.