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Monday, August 11, 2003

In Whose Hands is our Destiny? Article

Apollo 17's view of the moon.
Apollo 17's view of the moon.
Credit: NASA
This article by Jonathan Street, entitled, In Whose Hands is our Destiny?, makes a strong argument for a space agency controlled by the private sector. Here's a snippet:

In 1961 President Kennedy announced the most audacious propaganda stunt in history: the Apollo moon programme. This was before an American had even been into space and only 4 years after the USSR launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, kick-starting the space race. The drive and determination was such that they not only made it to the Moon, but arrived by the 20th July, 1969. A year before originally planned in 1961.

Today this drive and determination is lacking. The first probes to land on Mars were the Viking probes which landed in July and September of 1976. 28 years on and a manned mission to Mars is still only a dream. Something is lacking. Technologically, we have been ready to go visit Mars for many years. We are far more prepared to visit Mars today than we were to visit the Moon in 1969. It is not the technology that is holding us back, constraining us to exist solely on one planet, one celestial body. What we are lacking is the drive and determination so crucial and so evident in 1961 that just 8 years later saw a human being set foot on the Moon.

- posted by Alex @ 12:59 EST