The Apollo space program an anomaly?

This very interesting article from Nancy Atkinson of Universe Today looks at the US Apollo space program in the context of current US space program cutbacks, as one motivated more by politics than by the desire to "boldly go where no-one has gone before".


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How often have you heard (or thought) the sentiment that all NASA really needs is a President who will issue a bold challenge for the space agency, like Kennedy did in 1961, initiating the Apollo program to the Moon? Can we ever expect to witness such a call to action again?

“It is very unlikely,” said space historian and author Andrew Chaikin, who believes Apollo was an historical anomaly. “I think for many decades people saw Apollo as a model for how to do a space program; that you get a President to get up and make a challenge and the country follows along and does great things. But that was only true that one time in the context of the Cold War.”

We went to the Moon when we did not because we were a nation devoted to exploration, Chaikin believes, but because it seemed a politically important course of action in the context of our Cold War with the Soviet Union. “Once that was accomplished, then that political imperative evaporated,” he said.

Click here for the rest of the article.


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