Giant leap lost in time

What happened to the “giant leap for mankind”? When I was a kid, I thought we would be much more advanced in space exploration by now. I checked the Lunar Exploration Timeline… 40 years have gone by, and I see no obvious evolution from that amazing Apollo 11 feat.

I used to dream about space exploration, watching stuff on TV like Space 1999, Il etait une fois l’espace, and Star Trek.

Heck, I thought that, by 2010, we would have one or more space stations orbiting Earth, the Moon, and possibly other planets. I thought that by now, the Moon was already colonized, a center for space study and exploration. Frequent spaceships would go to and from the Moon and the space stations, taking people and resources from place to place. I thought that, by now, energy-autonomous rover robots had already been deployed in the most interesting planets and moons of our solar system. I thought that, by now, we would already have a cheaper way of getting to space (gauss launchers, space elevators, etc).

Was I wrong.

I guess space exploration has no big motivation to drive it. Since it seems we are alone in this solar system, and we still haven’t stupidly stripped Earth of it’s natural resources (although this is not that far off), we don’t actually *need* to go anywhere else.

And, I think, the most important thing: it has no return on investment (or does it?). If no profit can be made from an activity (read real money, not mankind evolution, Universe awareness, etc), nobody will seem to do it.

But I hope to see a great evolution in the comming 10-20 years!