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Objectif lune09/07/2009 - par Mark Tungate
Forty years ago, on the night of July 20 1969, a man walked on the moon for the first time. Talk about the ultimate vacation. It was also a tale of heroism: a rendezvous with a floating rock thousands of miles in space, guided by a computer less powerful than the one in your phone. In recent years, though, space seems to have become a bit dull. The space race against the Russians - the ultimate metaphor for the Cold War - is over. Today, mankind is more concerned with saving the planet than looking down on it.
Or is it? The anniversary of the moonwalk (and I'm not talking about Michael Jackson) has reactivated interest in space exploration. NASA is currently mapping safe lunar landing sites in the prospect of a future mission. Closer to home, a stunning exhibition of photographs shot by astronauts is on show at the Palais de Tokyo.
With its combination of science and adventure, space exploration is rich terrain for advertisers. Watchmaker Omega has long boasted that astronauts wore its Speedmaster timepieces. Its latest print campaign features John F. Kennedy saying, almost a decade before the touchdown took place, « We choose to go to the moon. »
On the anniversary of the moonwalk, I predict a lunatic jamboree of media coverage. But the image of the earth from the stars would probably be most effective in the hands of environmental campaigners. From up there, the world looks very fragile. Planet earth is blue, and there's nothing we can do.