Why go to the moon?

On March 28 in the Hunter Alumni Center, American historian, author and former chief historian of NASA Roger Launius gave a lecture for SUU’s premier event series, Ask. Ponder. Educate. [X]. for the Festival of Excellence. 

Launius began his presentation by dismissing those who theorize that the moon landing was faked. “We did indeed go to the moon, and we will go back,” he said. To further his point, he asked, “Why would we fake going to the moon six times?”

Launius gave a brief history of how and why America went to the moon. He explained that during the Space Race, America wanted to “show off their scientific capability to the world. They wanted bragging rights.”

Launius was just a little kid at that time. “I am old enough to remember this stuff, and it was cool,” he said.

After showing the first few pictures taken of Earth from space, Launius said, “Earth is not that big. There aren’t any lifeboats, so we better take care of this planet; if not, we will die here. If we stay here, we will become extinct.” 

He continues by adding that, due to NASA’s and the Apollo Program’s successes and failures, “astronauts became the face of Apollo and became household names and celebrities. NASA and the adventures to the moon have inspired millions to study STEM.”

Explaining why NASA and the Apollo missions were successful, Launius said, “NASA is a one-team concept. All the employees are synchronized in the identification with the mission. This is critical for any workplace.”

Leaving the audience with some inspiration after his talk about NASA and the future, Launius stated, “See what we can do when we set our mind to it?”

The next A.P.E.X. event will be on Thursday, April 13, with guest speaker Alfred Runte at 11:30 a.m. in the Hunter Alumni Center. 

Article and Photos by: Christina Schweiss
Cover photo courtesy of Andres Gomez via Unsplash