learning to ask better questions

March 30, 2021

Space, Mars, and the Desire to Explore

We choose to go to the Moon … We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are…
Photo by SpaceX

We choose to go to the Moon … 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 we intend to win

President John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962

I always dreamt about becoming an astronaut. Floating through space. Colonizing Mars and planets beyond. The early 70’s were a heady time for space travel. Disney World had just opened with its futuristic Tomorrow Land. We had Tang, Seiko solar watches, dome houses, and space day at school.

The Apollo Space Program was in full swing. I lived in Orlando, FL at that time. We could see the launches from our house. We would watch on TV at my grandparents’ house and then run outside when a rocket took launched, trying to be the first one to spot the rocket. My grandparents would take us to Kennedy Space Center where we would eat ‘Astronaut Food’. As kids, we loved the ice cream. In those days we could get very close to the launch pads. We took pictures in front of the Apollo launch pad.

Apollo 17 would be the last trip that the US, or anyone, took to the moon. It would be years before the Space Shuttle program was launched and a human crew traveled back into space. We never went back to the moon. The dream of going to Mars was put on indefinite hold.

The wait is over. The race to return to the moon is on again. There are more countries involved this time. Some that have greater will power and the hunger to prove their engineering and technology. Who will win this time? I’m afraid there will be a different winner this time around.

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