Sunday, July 5, 2015

President Kennedy's Moon Speech in the 21st Century

As presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says, "The greed of corporate America and the billionaire class has got to end, and we are going to end it for them." I am in favor of this ending of the greed culture too! Still, that is far from being enough.

President John F. Kennedy
Now I borrow the speech given by president John F Kennedy May 25, 1961, President Kennedy gave this historic speech before a joint session of Congress that set the United States on a course to the moon. I borrow it and expand on it for the 21st century.

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Now it is time to take longer strides--time for a great new American enterprise--time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways holds the key to our future on earth. Our presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders said we need to think big. My fellow citizens, this is about as big as it gets.

I believe we possess all the resources and talents necessary. But the facts of the matter are that we have never made the national decisions or marshaled the national resources required for such leadership. We have never specified long-range goals on an urgent time schedule, or managed our resources and our time so as to insure their fulfillment.

Recognizing the head start we have in space, we nevertheless are required to make new efforts on our own. For while we cannot guarantee that we shall one day be first, we can guarantee that any failure to make this effort will make us last, or even doom our species. We take an additional risk by making it in full view of the world, but as shown by the feat of brave astronauts, this very risk enhances our stature when we are successful. Space is open to us now more than ever before; and our eagerness to share its meaning is not governed by the efforts of others. We go into space and make human presence there permanent because whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share. Then our species survival can be further enhanced and assured.

I therefore ask the President, Congress and the people of the United States to raise above and beyond the decreases in funding I have seen for space activities, to provide the funds which are needed to meet the following national goals:

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before another decade is out, of landing a human on Mars and returning him/her safely to the Earth, and before the century is out, of building civilization on Mars with a population of at least 100,000 human beings. As we do this effort we must also build bases on the moon, and space stations in orbit around the moon, Earth and Mars. No space project in this, the 21st century, will be more impressive to mankind, more lasting in human memory, or more important for the long-range exploration of space, our long term economic growth and to help assure the survival and well being of humanity into the distant future; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish, and rewarding. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar and Mars deep space craft. We propose additional funds for other engine, and spacecraft development and for unmanned explorations. 5 trillion dollars should be allocated for the first Mars missions and starter bases.

Secondly, an additional 250 billion dollars will accelerate development of a nuclear rocket. This gives promise of speedy means of travel to Mars, and for even more exciting and ambitious exploration of space beyond the moon and Mars, to the very end of the solar system itself.

Third, an additional 500 billion dollars will make the most of our present leadership, by accelerating the use of present facilities to open enrollment into the newly founded free national educational systems envisioned by Sen. Bernie Sanders. This will provide the many skilled hands and minds needed to accomplish this great goal.

Fourth, an additional 2 trillion dollars will will be allocated for the development of asteroidal materials mining and processing.

Fifth, 1.5 trillion dollars will be allocated to the building of Earth based infrastructure needed for this project, (including national roads, bridges and other aspects of our national infrastructure, and for the retrofitting of currently operating space facilities.

Sixth, 2 trillion dollars will be provided to develop orbital solar arrays, and the ground based power collection grids we need to break the strangle hold of fossil fuels, which is becoming a dire threat to the stability of human civilization because of global warming.

Let it be clear--and this is a judgment which the Members of the Congress must finally make--let it be clear that I am asking the Congress and the country to accept a firm commitment to a new course of action, a course which will last for many decades and carry very heavy costs. If we are to go only half way, or reduce our sights in the face of difficulty, in my judgment it would be better not to go at all, and accept our fate on Earth.

Now this is a choice which this country must make, and I am confident that under the leadership of the Space Committees of the Congress, and the Appropriating Committees, that the people will consider the crucial matter carefully.

It is a most important decision that we make as a nation. But all of you have lived through the last five decades and have seen the significance of space and the adventures in space, and no one can predict with certainty what the ultimate meaning will be of mastery of space. One thing for sure is that it will be for the betterment of humanity to expand into the cosmos now.

I believe we should go to Mars. But I think every citizen of this country as well as the Members of the Congress should consider the matter carefully in making their judgment, to which we have given attention over many years and months, because it is a heavy burden, and there is no sense in agreeing or desiring that the United States take an affirmative position in outer space, unless we are prepared to do the work and bear the burdens to make it successful.

This decision demands a major national commitment of scientific and technical manpower, materiel and facilities, and the possibility of their diversion from other important activities where they are already thinly spread. It means a degree of dedication, organization and discipline which have not been seen since our research and development efforts on the extremely successful Apollo Program. It means we cannot afford undue work stoppages, inflated costs of material or talent, wasteful inter-agency rivalries, political interference or a high turnover of key personnel.

New objectives and new money cannot solve these problems. They could in fact, aggravate them further--unless every scientist, every engineer, every serviceman, every technician, contractor, and civil servant gives his personal pledge that this nation will move forward, with the full speed of freedom, in the exciting adventure of space industrialization and colonization.

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This is an expensive proposition with my very rough estimate of $10 trillion, but it is necessary to secure our nations long term future into the next century. This should be no problem for a country of our wealth. If we can find the national will to bail out greedy Wall Street bankers to the tune of $16 trillion in 2008, we can find the will to invest on a project like the one proposed here that has real returns. We can make the initial costs in fiat money, then pay it back with interest with platinum mined from asteroids.


During the banking crisis the treasury made $16 trillion in low interest loans to the very banks that caused the problem in the first place. It cost our nation $176 billion (2009 dollars) for the cost of Apollo and other space related things in the time frame of 1962 to 1972. $16 trillion could of supported a program like the one proposed here. If this had of been implemented in 2009, our nation would of been reaching its first lofty goals now. Then by 2020 the technological advancements, and material wealth from it might have started to have been realized.

At its peak, the Apollo program employed 400,000 Americans and required the support of over 20,000 industrial firms and universities. 400,000 X 91 = 36,400,000 jobs. Desperately needed jobs. Three times as many jobs as needed at the height of the recession due to unemployed. I think we could spare a few jobs to China and Vietnam then, instead of giving them the ones our people need now.

This would be an open ended project of human expansion, with unlimited potential, and returns, which would most likely have no end in sight. It would usher in a golden era for humanity.