Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's time for mankind to return to the Moon

Joe Culpepper
Editor - Gulf Breeze News

In this week's paper, I share with readers some of my impressions of a recent visit to the Kennedy Space Center that by design coincided with the 40th anniversary of man's first walk on the moon.

The space program always has fascinated me. I was but 10 years old as I sat on the living room floor of my house in Mississippi and watched on television as the Apollo 11 astronauts first reached the moon and hours later set foot on its dusty soil.

When I moved my family to Florida five years ago, one of the promises I made to myself was that we would travel to Cape Canaveral and witness a space shuttle launch. I've since realized that shuttle launches often are postponed, seemingly at the very last minute, due to unforeseen problems. If you want to see a launch in person, you must be prepared to stay a few days.

My visit to Kennedy Space Center on July 20 was a consolation of sorts. My family still was able to see many of the sights you see on TV before, during and after a launch. It baffles my mind that there have been 127 such launches through the years, and sadly there are only seven more scheduled.

Critics say the space program is too costly. Granted, it does cost billions to explore the heavens.

But mankind must continue to be challenged. There are frontiers to explore, much knowledge to be gained. We answered President John Kennedy's challenge by doing what only a few thought possible. Too much time has passed since man last walked on the moon in 1972. It's time to reenergize, return to the moon and reach further into the cosmos.

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