Cold War Historian Talks About a New Kind of Space Race Newswise

As Americans celebrate 100 years of flight on Dec. 17 and await the president’s challenge to return to the moon and beyond, a Purdue University space historian says there couldn’t be a better time to rejuvenate the country’s interest in space travel. “The Apollo missions have a historic and nostalgic allure only,” Michael Smith says. “We have the spectacular photographs and films and memories in popular culture. University students show little interest in returning to the moon again simply to return. Colonizing and mining the moon interest them somewhat. Reaching and exploring and colonizing Mars, perfectly achievable, according to present and possible technologies, fascinates them most.”