The Age of the Impossible

Aeronautics and space exploration are one area where the impossible has been repeatedly achieved, but they are hardly the only one. The term “impossible” has been applied to accomplishments as diverse as circumnavigating the globe and running a four-minute mile. Throughout history, the dominoes have fallen time and time again. And they will continue to fall. if you want to put together a list of major scientific and technological achievements that will be made in the coming years, the first step is easy. Look for the items that some are insisting are absolutely impossible.

 Coming up next week is Yuri’s night, the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s world-changing space flight. Obviously, anyone who thought that heavier-than-air flight was never going to happen would have given zero odds to human beings ever traveling into outer space. And there were many nay-sayers on space flight well beyond the time of Lord Kelvin and well beyond the time of the Wright Brothers. There was a magnificent period beginning in the late forties with Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier and culminating in 1969 with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the surface of the moon wherein the “impossible” was being achieved on a regular basis. But that was a false dawn, or maybe a preview of coming attractions. The real age of the impossible is on its way.


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