Planning the Apollo Missions Sample Collection and Processing
On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy addressed a joint session of Congress. Although Kennedy addressed a range of urgent national needs, one in particular electrified the nation and stunned the world. This one sentence is one often quoted from his short presidency: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon, and returning him safely to the Earth.” Kennedy was not so much interested in scientific advancement but wanted to finally get ahead of its Cold War rival, the Soviet Union, in the race to the Moon. Volumes have been written on the geopolitical basis of Project Apollo, but in May of 1961, the scientific benefits of Apollo were not the goal. In Kennedy’s mind, America was determined to prove that it was superior to Russia.