Why the Apollo Moon Landings Still MatterMarkWhittington (1084047) writes "Spaceflight Insider wonders if the Apollo 11 moon landing, which occurred 45 years ago this July, even matters. After all, it did not lead to lunar colonies, as many people at the time had hoped.
Leaving aside all of those technological spinoffs and the science that is even today ongoing, the main reason that Apollo matters is that it demonstrated what was possible if a country sets its mind to it. This is not the hoary old, "If we can land a man on the moon, we can do-" blank. Rather it is how a singular and well understood goal can be achieved.
There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, of how then Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, upon learning of President Reagan's SDI proposal, called in all of his military and aerospace experts and asked of what Reagan planned to do was possible.
The answer was universally yes, according to the story, because the Americans landed men on the moon and thus could do anything.
The fact that the moon landing happened and with technology that seems like stone knives and bear skins animates the desire to return to the moon, whether it is on the part of Russia, China, or two presidents named Bush. Technically returning to the moon would be easier than in 1969. We know how to do it and, with the Orion and the heavy lift Space Launch System, we are actually building some of the tools with which to do it."
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