Listen to the Unreleased Speech Prepared for the Failure of the 1969 Moon Landing

Friday, 27 January 2017 - 12:50PM
Space
NASA
Moon
Friday, 27 January 2017 - 12:50PM
Listen to the Unreleased Speech Prepared for the Failure of the 1969 Moon Landing
Image credit: NASA
Anyone who went through high school US History knows that the chapter on the Space Race pretty much burns an American flag directly into your brain. The 1969 Moon landing is the centerpiece, the moment when the United States proved once and for all that our scientific prowess and ingenuity could conquer any challenge, overcome any obstacle, and even extend our reach to the stars above. Looking back on the Apollo 11 mission and all the subsequent moon landings, was there ever any doubt that America would succeed?

Yes. Yes there was. In fact, there was a protocol set in place for when the moon lander failed to reconnect with the orbiter and Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were left stranded in space, doomed to die from oxygen deprivation or their own suicides. But despite the horror and tragedy of that possibility, the beautiful speech written for President Nixon to deal with it managed to turn the hypothetical disaster into a monument to all of humanity, not just American pride. You can listen to an excerpt below:



So many things could have gone wrong. According to astronaut David Scott, "If you have a basket ball and a baseball 14 feet apart, where the baseball represents the moon and the basketball represents the Earth, and you take a piece of paper sideways, the thinness of the paper would be the corridor you have to hit when you come back."

All in all, we're lucky that a bleached flag is stuck on the Moon, not two skeletons and the ruins of a lander.
Science
Science Videos
Space
NASA
Moon
No