IT is probably a good thing that man didn’t have the wherewithal to kick on from that historic moment 50 years ago today when the first human boot touched the surface of the Moon.

If we had found the will and the money to follow what Neil Armstrong started on July 20, 1969, by now the Moon would be covered on one side by tawdry hotels and on the other side by vast sprawls of housing estates overspilling from Earth.

And the Sea of Tranquility would be full of single use plastic.

But the Moon still holds sway over us. Its exploration, as the NASA motto says, does bring knowledge. And when you tell the next generation to “shoot for the Moon”, you are encouraging them to have dreams and to go for them so that they can be the best they can.

So it is right that the richer countries still have Moon landing programmes so that they stretch the best human minds.

Yet it is the fact that in the last 50 years we have failed to conquer the Moon that gives the Moon such a fascination. If everybody holidayed on the Moon every year, than this weekend’s anniversary wouldn’t have such interest.

The Moon is a nightly reminder that for all out sophisticated smartphone technology, Space is just too vast for us to overcome, and for all our rampant egos, we are just a tiny speck drifting in an ocean of darkness.

So it is worth taking a moment this anniversary weekend of looking up and marvelling that somehow, 50 years ago, we made it all the way to the Moon.