Here’s a thought provoking quote I saw recently:
“Commercially very little is to be expected from either balloons
or flying machines. For passenger traffic the number carried will
be so small and the cost so great that no competition is possible
with existing modes of transit.” — Willis L. Moore, chief US
Weather Bureau, opening the International Aeronautical Congress, 1907.
It’s interesting to remember that there was a time when serious people could doubt whether air transportation would ever be anything more than a flash in the pan. Moore was quite right regarding balloons, but couldn’t have been more wrong about airplanes. I really wonder if people are going to look back in 100 years at the progress of space transportation, and find similarly silly pronouncements to poke fun at.
Of course, just because somebody really got things that far wrong in the past doesn’t automatically mean that similar pronouncements today will turn out equally fallacious. They did laugh at Christopher Columbus, but they also laughed at Bozo the Clown. But it is an interesting thought.