Thursday, May 26, 2011

50 Years After Kennedy's Speech, Mars Mission Still Distant

Mars Mission
Today, May 25th, marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's famous speech challenging the U.S. to shoot for the moon, saying,"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 Earth."

On May 25th, 1961, Kennedy's delivered the address on "Urgent National Needs" to Congress a mere six weeks after the Soviet Union sent Yuri Gagarin on the first human spaceflight on April 12 and twenty days after Alan Shepard's first American flight on May 5th.

The result of Kennedy's challenge was the Apollo program, which sent America and mankind on a journey that's still soaring to new heights.

Kennedy's goal was fulfilled on July 20, 1969, when Apollo 11's lunar module Eagle touched down in the Sea of Tranquility, with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin aboard. Before the Apollo program ended in 1972, six missions landed on the moon and a dozen men set foot on its pale, mysterious crust.

Fifty years after Kennedy urged America to take one giant leap for mankind, we've accomplished unimaginable achievements, launching space shuttles, landing robotic rovers, traveling all the way to Jupiter, and building space stations.

After all of our exploration, we are still fascinated by the moon though. NASA continues to study it with satellites images, and in October of last year, NASA discovered large amounts of water and ice on the moon.

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