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June 2024
1min read

Forty years ago this month an intruder ventured into our particular slice of the heavens and jarred Americans out of a complacent faith in their nation’s technological superiority over that of the Soviet Union. Among the lesser consequences of Sputnik was this card game, Space Race, which allowed two players to vie for being the first to “complete a round trip of the Solar System.” When it was issued, America yet had no satellite to complete with the U.S.S.R.’s (as is suggested in the painting of the “friendly satellite,” which reflects either a lack of imagination or, more likely, stinginess on the part of the Space Race manufacturers). For all the far-ranging perils of the game, none of its players could imagine how quickly or dramatically the real space race would progress. Barely a decade later the card game was reissued, unchanged save for the box, which showed a painting of the Eagle standing on the surface of the moon. For a look at how Sputnik shook things up, see the article beginning on page 84.

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