Why Go to the Moon? The Many Faces of Lunar Policy
About the Speaker
Roger D. Launius is senior curator in the Division of Space History at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Between 1990 and 2002 he served as chief historian of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. A graduate of Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa, he received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, in 1982.
He has written or edited more than twenty books on aerospace history, including Robots in Space: Technology, Evolution, and Interplanetary Travel (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008); Societal Impact of Spaceflight (NASA SP-2007-4801, 2007); Critical Issues in the History of Spaceflight (NASA SP-2006-4702, 2006); Space Stations: Base Camps to the Stars (Smithsonian Books, 2003), which received the AIAA's history manuscript prize; Reconsidering a Century of Flight (University of North Carolina Press, 2003); To Reach the High Frontier: A History of U.S. Launch Vehicles (University Press of Kentucky, 2002); Imagining Space: Achievements, Possibilities, Projections, 1950-2050 (Chronicle Books, 2001); Reconsidering Sputnik: Forty Years Since the Soviet Satellite (Harwood Academic, 2000); Innovation and the Development of Flight (Texas A&M University Press, 1999); Frontiers of Space Exploration (Greenwood Press, 1998, rev. ed. 2004); Spaceflight and the Myth of Presidential Leadership (University of Illinois Press, 1997); and NASA: A History of the U.S. Civil Space Program (Krieger Publishing Co., 1994, rev. ed. 2001).
He served as a consultant to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board in 2003 and presented the prestigious Harmon Memorial Lecture on the history of national security space policy at the United States Air Force Academy in 2006. He is frequently consulted by the electronic and print media for his views on space issues, and has been a guest commentator on National Public Radio and all the major television network news programs.
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Why Go to the Moon? The Many Faces of Lunar Policy. What is it about the Moon that captures the fancy of Humankind? A silvery disk hanging in the night sky, it conjures up images of romance and magic. It has been counted upon to foreshadow important events, both of good an ill, and its phases for eons served humanity as its most accurate measure of time.
This paper discusses the Moon as a target for Human exploration and eventual settlement. This paper will explore the more than 50-year efforts to reach the Moon, succeeding with space probes and humans in Project Apollo in the 1960s and early 1970s. It will then discuss the rationales for spaceflight suggesting that human space exploration is one of the least compelling of all that might be offered. The paper will then discuss efforts to make the Moon a second home, including post-Apollo planning, the Space Exploration Initiative, and problems and opportunities in the 2004 Vision for Space Exploration.
Grand Forks, ND
Launius, Roger D., "Why Go to the Moon? The Many Faces of Lunar Policy" (2008). Space Studies Colloquium. 10.