Ad Astra Per Aspera

by Tim Cantu

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon… (interrupted by applause) we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

This vision of President Kennedy’s, first stated publicly on May 25, 1961, was fulfilled less than 7 years later when Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, along with 400,000 other NASA employees and civilian contractors, successfully completed the Apollo 11 mission and returned safely to earth. Over the next three and a half years 12 men walked on the moon in 6 successful missions. The total cost of the Apollo program has been estimated at about $170 billion in 2005 dollars, and did not include Apollo 18 through 20, which were cancelled in order to create funding for the development of the Space Shuttle and other NASA programs. All of this to land on the moon 6 times with a degree of technology which is eclipsed many times over in any cell phone produced in the last 3 years.

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