JFK ‘We Choose the Moon’ 60th anniversary and US space program ahead : NPR


Sixty years ago, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech at Rice University to inspire Americans to support NASA’s mission to the moon. In what became known as his “We Choose the Moon” speech, Kennedy promised to send an American astronaut to the moon by the end of the 1960s.

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JFK 'We Choose the Moon' 60th anniversary and US space program ahead : NPR

Sixty years ago, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech at Rice University to inspire Americans to support NASA’s mission to the moon. In what became known as his “We Choose the Moon” speech, Kennedy promised to send an American astronaut to the moon by the end of the 1960s.

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It’s been 60 years since President John F. Kennedy spoke to more than 30,000 people about America’s moon race. His “We Choose the Moon” speech became a pivotal moment in the space program, rallying the nation behind a mission that was far from certain.

“We chose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they’re easy, but because they’re hard,” Kennedy told the University crowd. Houston Rice. The president promised to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade, and seven years later he delivered, with the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969.

Space exploration has come a long way since Kennedy kickstarted the US space program.

The moon was just the beginning

JFK 'We Choose the Moon' 60th anniversary and US space program ahead : NPR

A NASA rover traversing the surface of Mars.

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JFK 'We Choose the Moon' 60th anniversary and US space program ahead : NPR

A NASA rover traversing the surface of Mars.

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One of NASA’s most incredible the achievements could very well be when he landed a rover on Mars, which took place less than 30 years after a man first landed on the moon.

Scientists have returned to Mars more than a handful of times since the first Mars rover landed in 1997, using sophisticated robots to explore the Red Planet and its life-supporting potential.

Space exploration has gone commercial

JFK 'We Choose the Moon' 60th anniversary and US space program ahead : NPR

NASA astronaut Robert Hines rode in a Tesla before boarding a SpaceX launch in April 2021.

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JFK 'We Choose the Moon' 60th anniversary and US space program ahead : NPR

NASA astronaut Robert Hines rode in a Tesla before boarding a SpaceX launch in April 2021.

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When Kennedy announced that the United States was going to put a man on the moon, the then Soviet Union and the United States were the main players in the space race. But now several companies are focusing on space exploration, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Musk aims to send a crewed mission to Mars in 2029, 60 years after the moon landing.

He is not the only billionaire who wants to leave the planet. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has Blue Origin and British business tycoon Richard Branson has Virgin Galactic. Earlier this year, Branson’s company opened ticket sales for commercial passenger flights it says will begin in 2022, priced at $450,000 per booking.

Space telescopes can capture so much more

JFK 'We Choose the Moon' 60th anniversary and US space program ahead : NPR

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope captured images of some of the oldest galaxies in the universe this summer.

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JFK 'We Choose the Moon' 60th anniversary and US space program ahead : NPR

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope captured images of some of the oldest galaxies in the universe this summer.

NASA, ESA, CSA and STScI

The James Webb Space Telescope relayed images of some of the universe’s oldest galaxies in early summer. The $10 billion observatory was launched last December with a mission to find the first galaxies that formed after the Big Bang.

But Webb does more than just take stellar photos. Scientists use the telescope to study the atmospheres of other planets and to better understand the fundamentals of dark matter.

NASA returns to the moon

JFK 'We Choose the Moon' 60th anniversary and US space program ahead : NPR

An illustration of what a base camp might look like on the surface of the moon. According to NASA, astronauts could find themselves living on the moon for up to two months.

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JFK 'We Choose the Moon' 60th anniversary and US space program ahead : NPR

An illustration of what a base camp might look like on the surface of the moon. According to NASA, astronauts could find themselves living on the moon for up to two months.

Nasa

Fifty years after the last moon landing, NASA announced its return. Astronauts will land on the lunar surface again to study rock and ice samples.

Lunar missions could serve as a stepping stone to the grand plan to send a man to Mars by establishing a permanent human presence on the lunar surface through NASA’s Artemis program.

The goal is to establish an Artemis base camp on the lunar surface, including a rover and a lunar cabin, where astronauts can live for up to two months at a time, according to NASA.


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