For all the desolation, sterility, and utter lifelessness of the Moon’s surface, there is something so endlessly fascinating about it that it keeps me up at night.
Some might question why going to the Moon was necessary, and the vast sums of money spent could have been better allocated to something else. But the programs were so epic, their mere side effects so influential, that they have shaped many parts of our lives without us even knowing it. Take that aluminum laptop or desktop you might be reading this on…. It’s made with a CNC machine, something invented for the fabrication of Apollo components. Fuel cells owe their existence to NASA. As do flight computers, modern freeze drying, and memory foam. Indeed, many people claim that the famous “blue marble” image of the earth taken from space helped usher in global environmentalism.
I have recently revisited a lot of terrific historical coverage of NASA’s past, especially the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. I recommend renting this series and learning the absolutely astounding efforts that went into America’s most thrilling adventure. Dork factor is quite high, and I love every minute of it.
Kennedy’s address to a joint session of Congress. May 25, 1961
I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important in the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.
—John F. Kennedy