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LADIES, GENTLEMEN, ROBOTS

This 2076, er, 1984 essay about moon colonies is very instructive

Pres. Ronald Reagan, center, admires a plaque he was presented by Apollo 11 astronauts during a ceremony at the White House on the 15th anniversary of their mission to the moon at the White House during a ceremony to proclaim Space Exploration Day, Friday, July 21, 1984, Washington, D.C. Behind the President, from left are, Michael Collins, NASA Administrator James Beggs; Reagan; and Neil Armstrong.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Ronald Reagan celebrates the fifteenth anniversary of the moon landing in 1984.
  • Tim Fernholz
By Tim Fernholz

Senior reporter

Published Last updated on This article is more than 2 years old.

Science fiction is one of the great drivers of space exploration, helping inspire Robert Goddard to invent liquid-fueled rockets and providing a catalyst for Ronald Reagan to launch the Strategic Defense Initiative.

At a NASA lunar colonization symposium held in 1984, the science fiction writer and then-president of the National Space Institute Ben Bova delivered a fictionalized speech (pdf), an “address given at a Tricentennial Celebration, 4th July 2076” held at Luna City—a future moon colony.

Here are a few telling excerpts about what we got right then—and what we might be getting wrong, now.