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Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theatre of war. I do not say that we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

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Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful co-operation may never come again. But why, some say, the Moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

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We choose to go to the Moon… We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.

By this point, overwhelmed by the full-bore application of US science and technology, the Soviet Union had brushed off the very idea that there had even been a space race with the Moon at the end of it as the big prize. Before Apollo 11, the mission designated to reach and — hopefully — land on the Moon, Nasa had sent several somewhat less ambitious flights of Apollo craft, to circle the Earth and return, to carry out the complex docking and undocking procedures with the lunar lander as test runs, and in one memorable moment, the crew of Apollo 8 had circled the Moon and photographed the astonishing Earthrise over the lifeless lunar surface, before returning to Earth.

I am, in fact, typing these words with that revolutionary image as my iPad screensaver.

This image, allowing anyone to viscerally understand the fragile life-raft inhabited by all of humanity, all the plants, all the animals, bugs, fish and everything else — helped give a huge kick to the still-nascent global environmental movement — with the sharp understanding there was no Plan-B planet conveniently to hand. The astronauts on Apollo 8 nailed down the impact of their journey with a Christmas Eve reading of the first verses of the Book of Genesis , broadcast live back to Earth.

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Sinatra: Fly Me to the Moon

Also, watch the CBS News special commemorative programming on the launch at this site. Unspoken to the world at large, until years later, was the fact the lunar module was within a minute of running out of fuel on its approach to the surface, sparking fears that the landing would have to be aborted at the very last second, lest disaster happen. One recent discovery among the President Richard Nixon papers is a draft for the terrible message he would have been forced to deliver, in the event the lunar craft crashed or, worse, if equipment failure had doomed the crew to cold, lonely deaths on the Moon, once their oxygen supply ran out.

Well, okay… The Apollo Programme followed with further flights, including that of Apollo 13, the one with the explosion of the cryogenic fuel cell fluid tank that very nearly killed its three-man crew. Everybody else who reached the surface until then was basically a pilot or engineer first, and a crash-course trained lunar scientist second. Despite the heavy engineering bias, hundreds of kilograms of Moon rocks were brought back to Earth by the Apollo missions, and scientists around the planet continue to work with them, even now.

Along the way, seismic stations and other instruments were set up to report back to Earth. But by the time of Apollo 17, a growing budgetary squeeze on the federal government due to the cost of the Vietnam War meant the final Apollo flight, 18, was summarily cancelled and no one from Earth at least has returned to the satellite since. In the years that have followed Apollo 11, unmanned exploration technology has become increasingly sophisticated, leading budget hawks as well as some scientists to ask why a new manned lunar programme is even necessary.

Some argue the next space jump should logically be to Mars where there may be a chance extraterrestrial life exists at least some hardy, lichen-like things , or where a real human colony could even be established.


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Or, perhaps, the lunar colony would be the marshalling point for the next step into space. But no one believed, a half-century ago, that the population of the Moon would now consist of some radiation sensors, some miscellaneous mirrors, and a range of seismographs.


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It now stands a lonely watch until a new generation of Earthlings may return. Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider. Art for the sake of truth, art for the sake of the good and the beautiful - that is the faith I am searching for. Load More. Forgot Password? There are many great benefits to being a Maverick Insider. Removing advertising from your browsing experience is one of them - we don't just block ads, we redesign our pages to look smarter and load faster.

Fly me to the Moon and let me play among the stars

Click here to see other benefits and to sign-up to our reader community supporting quality, independent journalism. Toggle navigation. Login Register. All readers will walk away thinking differently about the cosmos. Far from being a clockwork, it will seem more dynamic, more turbulent, and full of diverse possibilities.

The author has laid out the book very well--a teaser of an introduction with just enough details of the Hiten rescue to whet the appetite, but leaving you hungry for more. The language is friendly yet enticing, with nice snappy chapter lengths and informative illustrations in just the right places. There is a good story line running through the book with little surprises like the author being granted a patent for his special route to the Moon in , with many more patents to follow for routes to other destinations.

For anyone with an interest in this remarkable development in spaceflight the book is a must. It is a mark of sophistication in the evolution of space travel that simplified solutions to the vexing many-body problem are found to have practical applications. Belbruno's three-body solution for low-thrust minimum-fuel trajectories serves well not only the future of space flight but helps astronomy in understanding the sometimes erratic motions of celestial bodies.

Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut. It is also a must-read for the lawyer-scientist.


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Finch, Jr. The author succeeds in writing an exciting story about his research on low-fuel space travel, a subject that is not widely known but that will interest many readers. Moreover, the mathematical aspects of chaos in the context of space missions is well treated at the level of the nonexpert.

It is rare to see a nonpedantic book on celestial mechanics that gives some backroom stories about trajectory geeks.

Fly Me to The Moon - Diana Panton

Belbruno ties very abstract concepts to real problems and situations. It is an inside look at the important new field of chaotic trajectories by one of the masters and originators of the field.

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As we continue into space, I think we will be hearing more and more about these clever trajectories. Ed Belbruno has covered in a beautiful and interesting way the important applications of chaos to astrophysics and spacecraft trajectories.

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He also tells a very interesting personal story of his battles to get these trajectories used, and how he was able to save the Hiten spacecraft and get it to the moon. This is a great story, and he tells it very well. Edward Belbruno. Neil deGrasse Tyson.