As someone who was born at the dawn of the Space Age I must admit I’m disappointed with how the future has turned-out. It’s terrible that the U.S. has essentially given-up on manned space exploration, and while our remote exploration of Mars has been spellbinding, it’s not the same as people going there.
But more than that the Solar System has let me down: I really want there to be massive rain forests filled with dinosaurs on Venus; I want there to be an ancient civilization of living Martians; I want mining the asteroids to be a job you can have. I want space travel to be as ubiquitous as sea travel or air travel. I want humanity to have progressed beyond the childish tantrums of violence and war. We should have come together by now to start colonizing the Solar System and expanding beyond the Earth.
But the First Space Race was a part of the national competition here on the home planet, and without that impetus it has become a form of nationalistic vanity to repeat the accomplishments of the U.S. in space travel. I had real hope that the International Space Station was the start of that coming together, but it was a halfhearted effort at best.
I hope to live long enough to see human beings walk on Mars. But I feel we should have done that 30 years ago, and now we should be established there and in the Asteroid Belt. But I have seen very little to give me hope for a unified Earth that is actively reaching for the planets and stars.