Wednesday, May 25, 2011

JFK and the Moon

Despite his critical role in the American space program, JFK was never quite an all-out space buff. He approved Apollo for a mix of reasons, political and economic as well as idealistic. A new tape shows he still wasn't quite sold even after he'd authorized and promoted the program. Tow months before his death, Kennedy told NASA chief James Webb, "But this looks like a hell of a lot of dough to go to the moon when you can go -- you can learn most of that you want scientifically through instruments and putting a man on the moon really is a stunt and it isn't worth that many billions." He added, though: "I think this can be an asset, this program. I think in time, it's like a lot of things; this is mid-journey and therefore everybody says, 'What the hell are we making this trip for?' But at the end of the thing they may be glad we made it." Webb assured him they would be.

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