Man is about to land on the moon, but are people really that interested?

In this episode of 'Topic', John Bowman asks why there has been so little fuss over what might well be the threshold of a new era for man, the forthcoming landing on the moon.

Historian WH Williams, Irish physicist Dr WG Baird, and school teacher and maritime historian John de Courcy Ireland give their reactions to the whole phenomenon of the moon flight from American

John De Courcy Ireland sees remarkable advances in human history through space exploration over the last decade. 

Something quite new in human history is about to take place.

Space travel is a remarkable achievement and brings in a new era in human exploration just as important as the discovery of the Americas was for Europeans in 1492. 

Historian WH Williams argues that people are blasé about the forthcoming moon landing because the public is so informed about space exploration through the mass media. 

It's an event which is part of our entertainment now and while we'll all buy the Life magazines and the Time magazines and watch it on television, it's a little bit hard to get terribly excited over.

It is not too likely that any of us will ever set foot on the moon and as such we find it difficult to relate to what is about to happen. The colonisation of the moon is just another part of as the space race and rivalry between the world super powers of  America and Russia.

Space exploration also has its critics. John de Courcy Ireland holds the view that it is bad timing for the moon flight when our own planet faces so many challenges. He favours ocean exploration over space exploration, which he believes would be more beneficial to mankind.

Dr WB Baird is in agreement that social problems on earth should be tackled but also believes that we can not waste the opportunity to explore space. For Baird, you need to prioritise resources between understanding the ghetto and understanding space. 

I also don't think that it's a bad thing that two countries on this earth are going to attempt to reach the moon independently.

The space race between the Americans and the Russians guarantees that the moon will not become the domain of one country.

This episode of 'Topic' was broadcast on 8 July 1969. The presenter is John Bowman.