STAFF EDITORIAL: United States should return to moon soon
This week marks the 40th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing. In 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin walked on the surface of the moon, while Michael Collins circled it. It was an incredible feat that has not been equaled in terms of space exploration since.
We have sent satellites zooming off into space, taking pictures of distant planets and far-away stars. We have sent astronauts to the International Space Station, orbiting the Earth and conducting experiments. But, it has been 37 years since the last manned lunar landing.
Generations have grown up not knowing what it is like to experience this kind of historical event. Instead, many have learned that Pluto is no longer the planet we were once thought it was. It’s time we return to the moon.
Scientists and sci-fi fans dream of one day exploring and inhabiting Mars, but why Mars? Why not the moon? The moon is much closer than Mars and almost as unexplored.
Also, the technology used to send the astronauts to the moon in the late ’60s and early ’70s has drastically improved. Visiting the lunar surface now would be much easier and safer.
Houston calls itself the Space City. We named our sports teams and stadium after this great succes, but it’s time we begin living up to the name again.
NASA plans to end the shuttle program in 2010, and the International Space Station will be removed from orbit sometime between 2015 and 2020. As of today, NASA is researching the feasibility of a permanent moon base, with manned lunar missions to begin by 2020. With the current economic climate, however, the realization of this dream may be pushed back or suspended entirely.
When Armstrong stepped onto the moon for the first time, he declared ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’ The U.S. needs to take that step again and continue making history.