This quote is one of the most poignant parts of this letter, because it highlights the optimism of those pioneering space and the ultimate failure of their (lofty, laudable) vision.

War is not only a catalyst for technological advancement, but acts as economic stimulus, spurring industrial development and job creation - the business war is, sadly, one of the central pillars of the largest western economies (including the UK).

Could space exploration, which has similar properties, ever fill this role? Is there the political will to dial down the military-industrial complex and replace it with a "space-industrial complex"? Will extraterrestrial concerns ever factor as highly for governments as parochial ones, and will space programs ever see parity in funding to military endeavours?