In my rush to blog yesterday I completely missed the fact that it was 50 years since Kennedy made this speech and gave NASA’s scientists the biggest shock of their lives…
Having been beaten into orbit by the soviets and with some serious cold war egg on his face Kennedy’s hands were pretty much tied….It’s just a bit of a worry he didn’t decide to warn the NASA guys about what he was planning on doing while he was planning the whole thing.
I would love to stumble upon the probably non-existent footage of NASA’s scientists basking in the success of getting a man in space for 15 minutes only to be told they had nine years to get a guy on the moon…..and back…..and with little knowledge of how that would be achieved. Talk about interesting day at the office!
Either was It’s a bit of a miracle this ever happened…
The lack of any substantial radiation shielding on the craft alone could have caused some serious problems and that’s before you look into the tiny amount of computing power the ‘most powerful rocket we’ve ever built’ actually had (the iphone i’m editing this post on has more memory).
I’ve also heard landing on the moon described as trying to hit a bullet, with another bullet, while riding a horse. Overall not exactly a walk in the park and not exactly the kind of thing you announce without running past the majority of the people involved.
But then again this is America we’re talking about, if the Brits had decided to go for the moon we would have set up 6 different committees, four of which would have been working on the same thing but reporting back to different people. Essentially we wouldn’t have even got to the planning stages let along fly a car to the moon.
Nostalgic moment over Gizmodo is throwing around an interesting idea that I hadn’t heard of before. Apparently on September 20th 1963 Kennedy addressed the UN and said…
Finally, in a field where the United States and the Soviet Union have a special capacity—in the field of space—there is room for new cooperation, for further joint efforts in the regulation and exploration of space. I include among these possibilities a joint expedition to the moon.
Yes that’s right, work together? For more details the article is here. As Gizmodo says there’s no way of telling how serious Kennedy was about that plan, but it shows the beginnings of an idea that has led to the world building the International Space Station, and countries buying seats on each other’s rockets when they run out of money to fund their own.