You’ve never been to the moon… But don’t you want to go?

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Weight­less­ness.

You’ve nev­er been to the moon
But don’t you want to go?

‑Melis­sa Etheridge

When all you read about NASA and the efforts to con­tin­ue to explore space are about love tri­an­gles, drink­ing astro­nauts, and the star wars mis­sile shield look­ing at pho­tos like this bring me back to the dream. The hair still stands up on the back of my neck when I hear record­ings of John Kennedy say­ing: We choose to go to the moon.

Here’s a lit­tle bit more of what he said in case you have for­got­ten or nev­er hear the speech.

Those who came before us made cer­tain that this coun­try rode the first waves of the indus­tri­al rev­o­lu­tion, the first waves of mod­ern inven­tion, and the first wave of nuclear pow­er, and this gen­er­a­tion does not intend to founder in the back­wash of the com­ing age of space. We mean to be a part of it — we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the plan­ets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it gov­erned by a hos­tile flag of con­quest, but by a ban­ner of free­dom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruc­tion, but with instru­ments of knowl­edge and understanding.

Yet the vows of this Nation can only be ful­filled if we in this Nation are first, and, there­fore, we intend to be first. In short, our lead­er­ship in sci­ence and in indus­try, our hopes for peace and secu­ri­ty, our oblig­a­tions to our­selves as well as oth­ers, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mys­ter­ies, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world’s lead­ing space-far­ing nation.

We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowl­edge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all peo­ple. For space sci­ence, like nuclear sci­ence and all tech­nol­o­gy, has no con­science of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the Unit­ed States occu­pies a posi­tion of pre-emi­nence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new ter­ri­fy­ing the­ater of war. I do not say that we should or will go unpro­tect­ed against the hos­tile mis­use of space any more than we go unpro­tect­ed against the hos­tile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mas­tered with­out feed­ing the fires of war, with­out repeat­ing the mis­takes that man has made in extend­ing his writ around this globe of ours. There is no strife, no prej­u­dice, no nation­al con­flict in out­er space as yet. Its haz­ards are hos­tile to us all. Its con­quest deserves the best of all mankind, and its oppor­tu­ni­ty for peace­ful coop­er­a­tion may nev­er come again.

But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the high­est moun­tain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon. 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’re will­ing to accept, one we are unwill­ing to post­pone, and one we intend to win, and the oth­ers, too.

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