Learning With: ‘Why Apollo 10 Stopped Just 47,000 Feet From the Moon’

Learning With: ‘Why Apollo 10 Stopped Just 47,000 Feet From the Moon’

7. The article concludes:

In the annals of history, the mission of Apollo 10 has been overshadowed by later journeys to the lunar surface. But the astronauts of Apollo 10 were trailblazers, and their story adds richness and humanity to the history of the race to the moon. Their achievements, and the risks that they took to help America to win that sprint, deserve to be remembered and celebrated.

Do you agree with the author that we need to celebrate the Apollo 10 crew even if they didn’t reach the moon on their mission? How should we best remember and honor the trailblazers who make history and glory possible for others? Can you think of other historical figures who were there for the “dress rehearsal” but not for the actual performance?

Finally, tell us more about what you think:

— Mr. Bell writes:

Imagine if Ferdinand and Isabella had sent a ship to the New World in 1491 and asked its captain and crew to find new lands to the west without getting out of the ship to set foot on them, because the next captain and crew were scheduled to do that in 1492.

Or picture President Thomas Jefferson sending a party to scout passage to the Pacific Ocean in 1803, then saying, don’t touch a thing, especially not the ocean — because Lewis and Clark are scheduled to do that the following year.

Do you think Mr. Bell’s historical comparisons are fitting? Can you think of any other hypothetical examples that might capture the unique situation for the Apollo 10 crew? How would you have felt if you had been an astronaut on the Apollo 10 mission? Would you have been tempted to try to land on the moon? Why or why not?

— In March, the Trump administration announced its ambitious goal to send American astronauts back to the moon by 2024:

American astronauts will walk on the moon again before the end of 2024 “by any means necessary,” Vice President Mike Pence declared on Tuesday at a meeting of the National Space Council.

“It is the stated policy of this administration and the United States of America to return astronauts to the moon within the next five years,” Mr. Pence said at the United States Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. On the stage nearby was a model of an Apollo landing module that first transported American astronauts to the lunar surface 50 years ago.

Do you agree with this goal? Should the United States make manned space missions to the moon a priority? Why or why not?

— What do you think the next 50 years hold for human spaceflight? Will humans live on the moon someday? How soon do you think astronauts will land on Mars? Do you think ordinary people will ever make interplanetary space trips, the way people take intercontinental plane rides today? Would you like to travel to space?

Further Resources:

Remembering the Moon Landing, Nearly 50 Years Later: ‘We Were All Completely Silent’

That Moon Colony Will Be a Reality Sooner Than You Think

Can the U.S. Really Get Astronauts to Mars by 2030?

The Rich Are Planning to Leave This Wretched Planet

Let’s Not Move to Mars