Did the Moon Get Boring?
Fifty years ago we were quite in the rush to get to the Moon. In fact, we spent a good deal of effort and money trying to get there; however, we haven't attempted traveling to the moon in years. Why is that? Why is it that something that we were once so obsessed over has not became relatively mundane and unimportant? I'd argue that the the first trip to the moon was a mere diversion. I'd argue that our trip to the moon wasn't about the excitement of exploration, but simply another race against the Soviet Union.
I don't think most people realize how ridiculously difficult it is to get to the moon. It's far more difficult than obtaining an Earth orbit, and there is relatively little to gain once you've gotten to the moon, outside of researching the moon itself and the claim that you indeed did get there. It's not as if there's some humongous fiscal advantage if you get there first. The United States cannot claim the territory of the moon. The moon did not and will not become the 51st state.
The race to arrive on the surface of the moon seems to have been mostly driven by the desire to gain ground over the Soviet Union, and, for that matter, I'd argue that the only reason we stopped at one trip is that both the US and the USSR feared the inevitable escalation that would happen if things kept progressing in space. There was considerable fear that nuclear weapons would make their way into space, and such an escalation was something that I doubt either the US or the USSR desired.
Maybe I'm simply too unenthusiastic and biased to completely grasp the awe and wonder that the first moon landing incited. Maybe the moon landing was simply something that one had to be alive during that time to truly appreciate, but I don't understand it. I guess, to me, and perhaps to my entire generation, trying to visit the moon has always been boring. Perhaps it feels a little too easy anymore.