John W. Young/NASA
President John F. Kennedy delivered a famous speech in 1962 outlining his administration’s challenge to land Americans on the moon. “We choose to go to the moon,” he declared, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.
As difficult a technological feat as the Apollo moon program proved, within seven years NASA had met Kennedy’s challenge and ultimately sent a dozen astronauts to the surface on six missions between 1969 and 1972 at a cost of about $25 billion — roughly $250 billion in today’s dollars.
Sixty years after Kennedy’s speech, NASA is again getting ready to send humans to the moon. NASA is planning a second attempt Saturday afternoon to launch the uncrewed Artemis I after a planned launch on Monday was scrubbed due to an engine issue. The mission is the first test flight of the hardware that will be used to send astronauts in the next few years.
No doubt, many people are wondering: Why go back?
There’s a lot of science to be done on the moon
The rock samples brought back by Apollo astronauts decades ago taught scientists a lot about the geologic history of Earth and the moon.
What can be gathered by today’s astronauts could tell us even more, says David Kring, a lunar geologist at the Center for Lunar Science & Exploration