Tom Hanks has predicted that the first woman and non-white man from the US will step on to the moon in the next “three to four years”.
The Oscar winning American actor, 67, has narrated an experience called The Moonwalkers: A Journey With Tom Hanks – which tells of missions to the moon – at London’s Lightroom.
Ahead of the opening, Hanks told the PA news agency: “Sometime within the next, let’s be charitable, three to four years… the first woman is going to step foot on the surface of the moon, as well as the first non-white American male. That is as equal and evolutionary place for humankind as Neil Armstrong was in 1960.”
With co-writer Christopher Riley, a Bafta nominated writer and director, Hanks brings to life Apollo missions also using Nasa footage and images from Andy Saunders’ photographic book Apollo Remastered.
Riley said throughout Hanks’ career he has tried to “promote human spaceflight and space exploration as a really positive, powerful endeavour”.
He also said: “This whole chapter in human history, both 50 years ago, and what we’re repeating today really does bring out the best in humanity and at a time when things are pretty dark out there.
“This is a good news story, that was really my positive take on it.”
Hanks also recalled seeing rocks gathered by “legends” and astronauts Armstrong and David Scott at the Lunar Receiving Laboratory in Nasa’s Johnson Space Centre in Texas that point to physical evidence of water on the moon.
Hanks said: “If there’s physical evidence of water on the roof, that might have been there as actual water on the moon and if that’s the case, that is a game changer for all of humankind and that’s what we learned.”
He also said the fascination is about our “innate natural curiosity”.
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Hanks, 67, added: “What is astounding, I think, to both of us is that we came of age, when humankind became a space theory species, we now go into space.
“So on one hand, it’s commonplace but on the other hand, it is an endless frontier up there that is loaded with great mysteries, treasures (which) is going to be one of the greatest puzzles that everybody gets to work on solving for generations.”
The experience has been co-directed by Nick Corrigan and Lysander Ashton of 59 Productions and features an original orchestral score by Canadian composer Anne Nikitin.
Hanks previously played astronaut Captain Jim Lovell in Apollo 13, served on the board of governors of the National Space Society and has been honoured by the Space Foundation.
He also produced the HBO miniseries From The Earth To The Moon and co-wrote Imax film Magnificent Desolation: Walking On The Moon 3D.
The Moonwalkers: A Journey With Tom Hanks opens on Wednesday at the Lightroom in London’s King’s Cross.