25 Aug '12, 9pm

Day before Neil Armstrong died, my son asked: “Would we have gone to Moon if there hadn’t been a cold war?” My reply:

Recently released audio recordings from the Kennedy White House reveal that politics, more than science, may have fueled America’s race to the moon against the Soviets. The 73-minute tape, recently released by the John F. Kennedy Library, records a meeting between President Kennedy, NASA Administrator James Webb, Vice President Lyndon Johnson and others in the Cabinet Room of the White House on November 21, 1962. The discussion reveals a president who felt landing men on the moon should be NASA’s top priority and a NASA chief who did not. When asked by Kennedy if he considered the moon landing to be NASA’s top priority, Webb responded, “No sir, I do not. I think it is one of the top priority programs.” Kennedy then urges Webb to adjust his priorities because, “This is important for political reasons, international political reasons. This is, whether we like it or not, an i...

Full article: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/25/the-cold-war...

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