Opinion | Pop Culture

Of God and Galaxies

Now that the Cold War is over and we have an economic crisis on our hands, is space exploration still justified?

Forty years ago Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to set foot on the moon, with an estimated 500 million people watching them via live broadcast below on planet Earth. I was not among those watching - I hadn't been born yet - and there hasn't been a single man-on-the-moon live broadcast in my lifetime. Eugene Cernan was the last man to visit the moon, in 1972.

Aldrin, Cernan, and five other astronauts met in Washington, D.C. yesterday to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the moon walk. During a press conference they were at times critical of the state of our nation's space program, urging future generations to surpass their accomplishments, but they also acknowledged the significant expense involved in space exploration. In a discussion on the merits of travel to Mars, David Scott, commander of the Apollo 15 mission, said, "We have to find a reason to go to Mars that will continue the funding."

Is pure exploration reason enough? I look up at the moon at night and it seems ...

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