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July 19, 2013

We Choose to Go to the Moon

We Choose to Go to the Moon

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” -President John F. Kennedy. Rice Stadium. 1962.

Wednesday evening, Irish radio presenter for RTV2 fm and space enthusiast Rick O’Shea moderated a fascinating discussion on JFK and his space exploration legacy. Panelists included Karlin Lillington, technology journalist with The Irish Times, Dr. Joseph Roche of Trinity College and member of Trinity’s Astrophysics Group, and Kevin Nolan, Irish coordinator of the Planetary Society, science “communicator,” and a leading expert on the exploration of Mars. This discussion was organized by JFK Homecoming, the National Library of Ireland, as well as the Festival of Curiosity as a part of a series of evening presentations relating to the JFK Homecoming Exhibit.

The event and discussion highlighted JFK’s famous Rice Moon Speech and had panelists discuss the importance of this speech in regard to both funding and morale for the space program. Panelists also discussed the science behind the space program, the Apollo missions, and the future of the US space program as well as the role private space companies have had in recent years and will continue to have in the future. Panelists also compared the space program of the 1960s/70s with that of today and discussed how Cold War pressures and current safety restrictions have framed differing attitudes toward space exploration. It was a perfect evening for both the history buff and science junky alike.

Thanks so much to the National Library of Ireland, The Festival of Curiosity, Rick O’Shea, Karlin Lillington, Dr. Joe Roche, and Kevin Nolan for making this evening possible!

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