To the Moon: Section 2: The Story in Pictures and Text

To the Moon: Section 2: The Story in Pictures and Text

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The beginning was brash rather than auspicious. When President John F.Kennedy committed the nation to make a manned landing on the moon "before this decade is out", the United States had behind it only a miniscule 75 minutes of space flight. The commitment was made, not for scientific ends, but for political and military reasons, to bolster the confidence of a people humiliated by the Soviet's progress in space and by the debacle of the Bay of Pigs, where a giant democracy ignominiously failed in a veiled attempt to overthrow a tiny Communist dictatorship.
The awesome goal Kennedy set was met with five months to spare - an achievement that has been greeted by scientists, technicians, government officials, pundits of the press and ordinary citizens with reactions ranging from hyperbole to gape-mouthed amazement. How could age-old fantasy and relatively untried theory have so swiftly been transmuted into the establishment of "Tranquility Base" on the moon (opposite) while uncounted hundreds of millions around the world watched?