The Mercury mission, fifty years ago today.
I discussed it a bit on t’Whoblog but the Space Race in general is a fascinating period that could be visited in more detail than an episode or two of a time-hopping romp. Heroism, scientific curiosity, sabre-rattling bravado and oneupmanship lead to great achievements, some of which have never been equalled and some sadly allowed to fall by the wayside. Eleven years later, before I was even born, the last human being to date walked on the Moon.
And this was all going on at a time, just two generations ago, that is already the subject of period dramas where we're often invited to stare in disbelief at how different life was back then. (Of course the likes of Mad Men showcase the differences while also bringing out universal points, so that the early 60s of the show seems more alien than a modern Jane Austen adaptation.)
What would cause such a Great Work in your setting? Who has the skill, the courage, and the necessary something to prove? Where would a rival seeking to reach the same goal come from? what could be learned from the process, and will it be learned as well as it should be?
And where would our heroes be? On the frontier, risking everything for great ideas and political point-scoring.
And there are also heroes in the shadows, making this venture work, or keeping secrets from being stolen. A classic 60s spy adventure game could take place in the labs and factories and test ranges of a moonshot.
Or about other plans that could have happened, like the moonbase being planned in the late 50s. Or how wrong things could go.
And of course I want to go out there.