Before this decade is out ….

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"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."  -- John F. Kennedy

The Guardian reports (/.) that Bush may announce in his State of the Union address that the U.S. plans to put astronauts on Mars by 2010. If that happens, it'd be a very bold challenge, because, in all reality, the United States space technology for human spaceflight seems to be locked in low orbit. To boot, there is no launch vehicle that would even get near the capacity of the Saturn V and no other manned space vehicles but Apollo 11-17 have ever left Earth orbit. A new launch vehicle, a new spacecraft, several (dozen) exploratory missions with unmanned probes and all that until 2010? Hard to believe.

Do it.

Conincidentally, I am currently reading "Before this decade is out: Personal Reflections on the Apollo Program" and "First On the Moon" in tandem. Reading both of these books at the same time lets you look at Apollo 11 from both angles -- in the spaceship and on the ground. I was born 12 days after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon (with Michael Collins taking care of the ship for the voyage home)

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