Letter: Coming soon: lift-off from the Moon

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The Independent Online
Sir: Tom Wilkie ('The view that shook the world', 18 July) tells us that 'mankind is still alone'. He won't be for much longer. Within 25 years, we could be using the Moon as a launching pad for manned space probes that will venture much farther afield. Immense speeds will become possible, and a closer look at the nearest stars, which are about four-and-a-half light years away, will be feasible for a longish trip.

In the last century, David Livingstone spent 14 years exploring unknown Africa. In the next century, there will be people prepared to devote that sort of time to exploring the cosmos; they will be right out there, telling the people back home what they are discovering. They might even pick up signals from other intelligent life, once they are well away from the electronic din of our planet.

And the cost of it all? Once we have a saner economic system, caring for the planet and adventuring beyond it will both be affordable.

Yours faithfully,

JAMES HEMMING

Teddington,

Middlesex

18 July

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