We choose Earth, not because it is easy, but because it is hard

● By James Dyke, University of Southampton ● It seems like science fiction that 44 years ago Apollo 11 astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin traveled nearly a quarter of a million miles to walk on the surface of the Moon. When the crew of Apollo 17 returned to Earth in December 1972, they were not only the last humans to visit the moon, but also the last to venture further than a couple of hundred miles from the Earth. That the moon landings were achieved less than 10 years after Kennedy’s now famous speech in Rice, Texas, 1962 makes it more amazing still. His impassioned argument for why a Moon landing and safe return should be the challenge to be met was: “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”. The more romantic notions of space exploration aside, Apollo was a statement of US scientific, engineering, industrial and political exceptionalism, driven by Cold War rivalry with the USSR. Technological elements of it were based on intercontinental nuclear missile programmes. The fear of nuclear war and losing the space race helped build support for Apollo. Despite some of the more apocalyptic predictions of runaway climate change, one challenge of reducing carbon emissions is that while we have been monitoring atmospheric CO2 for decades, the slow, steady increase and diffuse effects has meant there isn’t a single identifiable threat against which we can organise. As with boiling a frog, when temperatures rise sufficiently gradually, by the time it’s too hot, it’s too late to do something about it. Climate change is not the only detrimental impact humans are having on the Earth. What may be one of the great mass extinction events is taking place, and over half of the world’s great tropical rain forests have been destroyed, leaving perhaps 20% by the middle of this century at current rates of deforestation ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

JFK - We choose to go to the Moon, full length

"We choose to go to the Moon" As we sit at the precipice of a new era of exploration, I thought it appropriate to revisit the original inspiration and rationale for the first lunar exploration program as so eloquently stated by John F. Kennedy. The original speech by JFK was held in Houston, TX at the Rice Stadium in the fall of 1962. "Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, 'Because it is there.' Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked." -John F. Kennedy, Rice University, Sept. 12, 1962 http://www.jfklibrary.org/Historical+Resources/Archives/Reference+Desk/Speeches/JFK/003POF03SpaceEffort09121962.htm http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/We_choose_to_go_to_the_moon http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/main/index.html www.rice.edu www.nasa.gov

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