Just before the launch of the last mission to the Moon, Apollo 17 in December 1972, the New York Times asked several dozen philosophers, scientists, writers, and political leaders to reflect on what the Moon missions had meant to humanity and the world.
Even today, 50 years later, people around the world don’t say, “the United States went to the Moon,” they say, “we went to the Moon.”
One of the great myths of Apollo is that it was expensive The 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 is a great moment to puncture the myth, once and for all, that going to the Moon was expensive.
The big problems that Americans had on January 20, 1961, when President Kennedy took office—every one of those problems had improved when the last Apollo astronauts returned from the Moon in December 1972.
The Apollo flight computer, which the astronauts used to fly to the Moon in both the command module and the lunar module, was the smallest, fastest, most nimble (and also most usable) computer that had ever been created.
Because of the work of MIT and NASA did during the development of the Apollo computer, going to the Moon helped drive down the price of computer chips from $1,000 each to $1.58 each, even as they got faster and more powerful.
Then we spent a decade watching people using cutting-edge technology—the computers, but also the spaceships, the spacesuits, the communications and TV all the way to the Moon and back—and we came away with a whole fresh sense that technology w