Not all State of the Union speeches are created equal. Fifty-seven years ago, in his first SOTU address, a young and largely untested President John F. Kennedy implored the United States’ mortal enemy, the Soviet Union, to join Americans in their quest to send probes to Mars and Venus -- missions that might “someday unlock the deepest secrets of the universe”.

While the Soviets declined the invitation and the Cold War carried on, previously unimagined secrets of the universe were indeed unlocked, during Kennedy’s tenure and after. As a generation, we now occupy a completely different world of knowledge to JFK, and our parents and grandparents.