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Megachange: The World in 2050 by John Andrews, Daniel Franklin

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Tim Cross

Man’s exploration of space will be less starry-eyed

SPACE EXPLORATION, the headline-writer’s favourite stereotype of futuristic high technology, inspires plenty of emotions, but nostalgia is not usually one of them. Yet a slew of anniversaries and milestones in 2011 – 50 years since a Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, became the first man in space, the same half-century since John F. Kennedy kicked off the Apollo moon-shot programme, and the final flight of NASA’s venerable space shuttle – prompted reveries about the glory days of can-do cold warriors and the “steely-eyed missile men” who blazed the trail into the great dark beyond.

Back then, at the dawn of the space age, humanity’s imminent conquest of the high frontier ...

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