A little more than 40 years ago, men walked on the moon for the first time. This achievement was a
landmark for humanity – not only in that it demonstrated a vast technological ability, but also because
it was that “giant leap for mankind” – as Neil Armstrong so eloquently put it – in an eternal quest for the stars.
Most of us grew up watching the space program – the first orbiting satellites, the Apollo program, the
Space Shuttle, and the International Space Station. We became accustomed to constant “leaps for
mankind” in technological achievement. We shared in the sorrows – the Challenger explosion, the loss
of Columbia high over Texas – and we shared in the numerous heroic successes of our astronauts and
the scientists and engineers who formed NASA.
With uncertainty in the future of the global economy, many are now beginning to feel that all those
glory days are behind us. I have heard people lament the changes in direction of our policy of space
exploration as though the adventure of discovery beyond the pull of Earth’s gravity is all but over.