THIS USED TO BE THE FUTURE: "Mars, 1950s Style!"

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Man, you really have to hand it to Walt Disney: The man went beyond just typical mid-century American enthusiasm about the future, he was clearly obsessive about it. This came to fruition in the tense days following the launch of Sputnik (October 1957), in which America - caught flatfooted - struggled to figure out how to make sense of what this new "Space Age" meant.

Disney's evangelical glee about Tomorrow was a natural for this kind of environment, and of course he threw his vast resources in to the campaign to convince Americans that we should throw ourselves aggressively in to space, treating it as a new frontier, not all that different in concept from the Old West.

This clip

was part of a special episode of the "Disneyland" show, called "Mars and Beyond." It aired in December of '57, not even two full months after the Soviets launched the first artificial satellite, and lays out a plan for exploring (And presumably claiming and eventually settling) The Red Planet with a scope that can only be considered almost ludicrously behemoth, and gorgeously so.

If that link doesn't work, try this

This plan, of course, neglects to consider the Van Allen Radiation Belts, which wouldn't be discovered for another year, and that made an awful lot of Science Fiction and Realspace plans inconveniently, irritatingly impossible. Thus we'd have to build the ship in closer, and that would mean a much longer voyage time. The drive system would theoretically work, though shielding the reactor is probably more of a problem than they're anticipating, and thirty years of space stations have shown us that construction in space is quite a bit harder than anticipated.

And yet it's impossible not to get worked up by their glee, their vigor, their gradiose scale, their wild-eyed "Of course we can do it, we're Americans!" mania. "Science worked in broad strokes in those days. Nowadays it's all 'molecule, molecule, molecule,' and nothing ever gets done."