In just a few days the world will mark a significant "milestone" in the history of the 20Th Century, when on July 20, 1969 - Men Walked On The Moon.
Most consider it a monumental technological achievement, but others call it a massive hoax. Supporters of the theory contend that NASA deliberately deceived the world in a staged propaganda antidote to the War in Vietnam and the simmering Cold War with the Soviets.
While most conspiracies fade over time, the moon landing (somewhat like the related JFK assassination), continues to flourish thanks to the Internet.
Relax, I am not getting into "That" debate...instead I am just setting the context, the frame if you will, for this one:
This fall as many as 10,000 American university students will head north to better weather the recession at much more affordable Canadian Universities. For the most part, money fuels this Canadian mini "brain-Gain". But it seems also that some students are interested in what one described recently - "The whole Canada experience interested me...it just seemed like the experience I was looking for."
Despite her $20,000 international tuition fee each year, Stephanie Greco, aged 18, will get her degree from Dalhousie University for half the cost of the same degree at the University of Rhode Island. Ten years ago, just only 2000 American students were registered at Canadian Universities. Perhaps not only will the students enrolled in classes come this September get an international education without having to travel overseas; their experience here may kick-start the sad lack of knowledge most Americans have about their northern neighbour.
And: As the planet shares in the 40Th anniversary of man's conquest of the moon, these students may even pick-up tidbits of Canadiana about our own outer world experiences. "Trekkies" for instance will learn that fans of the various incarnations of the "Star Trek" franchise flock each year to Vulcan, Alberta. A community of 2000 people acknowledged as "Star Trek Town." Not to be outdone. another Alberta town - St.Paul, is known for building the world's first UFO landing pad. It was opened in 1967 by Canada's then Minister of National Defence, Paul Helleyer. Lest I digress, Mr. Helleyer has since become a converted firm believer in visits from outer space and is widely quoted for a 2005 speech on the subject in the authoritative American UFOevidence.Org website. In St. Paul, Alberta though the welcome mat is still outstanding for the first UFO landing.
Back in their homeland perhaps any one of these Canadian educated American whiz-kids could become involved with the Google sponsored "Global Lunar X-Prize." It commits a $30-million first prize for any commercial entity able to put a lander on the moon by December 31, 2012. Please! - Just an extra inch so that I may digress once more - The December 31, 2012 deadline is 6 days after the world ends according to the pre-historic Mayan calendar.
South of the border some American states have already broken ground on the construction of facilities built specifically for space-bound commercial customers and fee paying passengers. The State of New Mexico is building "Spaceport America" on a remote high desert range near the town of Truth or Consequences; and Hawaii is counting on space tourism for high-end getaways launched from the sand to the stars. Tourists would pay $200,000 for an all inclusive week long package: spaceflight training, resort accommodations, and flights which could include island hopping from Hawaii to Japan in 45 minutes.
Now we know - Finally the time has come: St. Paul and Vulcan, Alberta may soon get out of this world visitors after all. It's been a long wait!