Big space news broke this week with NASA unveiling the crew for its first human mission to the Moon in more than 50 years. And for the first time, a woman and a black man will voyage into deep space. This is very welcome progress indeed. Christina Koch, a NASA astronaut who holds the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, will be a mission specialist on next year’s Artemis 11 flight around the moon. Victor Glover will also be the first black man to take part in a lunar mission.
Only 12 people – all of them white men- have set foot on the Moon. I love a story of gender and race barriers being smashed and I am always partial to space stories. There is something so awe-inspiring about our quest to enter other galaxies. Since I was a child I have been obsessed with star-gazing and moon swaying. But I did laugh out loud when I read the news as I have a few conspiracy-obsessed friends who of course swear we have never stepped on the moon.
One mate who I have nicknamed Conspiracy Clive brings me “evidence” on a weekly basis to try to convince me of his wild accusation that Princess Diana’s death was not accidental, but the People’s Princess was indeed murdered by the Monarch. I know many others around the world also believe this theory. I just plain do not believe it. And truth be told I am struggling most days to get out the door and keep my children alive to be bothered going down a rabbit hole of whacky and weird stories.
Another theory that I hear about most days from Conspiracy Clive is that we should all be wrapping our mobile phones in alfoil to stop spies from tracking us and to stop radiation from entering our bodies. My buddy brags to me loudly and proudly about all sorts of wickedly wonderful plots despite my eye rolling and heavy sighing that surely tells him I do not believe a tiny scrap of any of his crazy theories.
He believes seals have tiny cameras inserted in their thick fur that we cannot see and they record people coming and going from a secret entry to the North Pole that leads to a whole new civilisation. Old Conspiracy Clive doesn’t need to drink to tell me these mind-blowing tall tales. He does not do mind-altering drugs and he is mentally sane. I love that he walks to the beat of his own drum as wouldn’t it be a boring world if we all believed the same stories. His theories frustrate me on a bad day but most days I do secretly love them. However, I will not be anywhere near him the day history is created when that mission to the moon is launched.