This has been far more than three men on a mission to the Moon; more still than the efforts of a government and industry team; more, even, than the efforts of one nation. We feel this stands as a symbol of the insatiable curiosity of all mankind to explore the unknown.
It was designed to have an impact on the stalemate over Mutually Assured Destruction with the Soviet Union. Us reaching the moon convinced Gorbachev and other leaders that the Soviet Union couldn't compete with the U.S., so they revised their agenda. But people have short memories.
If we go back to the moon, we're guaranteed second, maybe third place because while we are spending all that money, Russia has its eye on Mars. Landing people on the moon will be terribly consuming of resources we don't have. It sounds great - 'Let's go back. This time we're going to stay.' I don't know why you would want to stay on the moon.
I think the American Dream used to be achieving one's goals in your field of choice-and from that all other things would follow. Now, I think the dream has morphed into the pursuit of money: Accumulate enough of it, and the rest will follow. We've become more materialistic. For balance, I think we need to get back to idealism and patriotism, but also be realistic with our monetary goals.
The honor you have given us goes not to us as a crew, but to ... all Americans, who believed, who persevered with us. What Apollo has begun we hope will spread out in many directions, not just in space, but underneath the seas, and in the cities to tell us unforgettably what we will and must do. There are footprints on the moon. Those footprints belong to each and every one of you, to all mankind. They are there because of the blood, sweat, and tears of millions of people. Those footprints are the symbol of true human spirit.
There are a lot of people that get interested in something, and they hear about it, and they read about it, and then they watch it happen, and that's why I had quite an interest in the lottery because you'd interest a lot of people, and then just a few would win a chance to do something.
In my mind, public space travel will precede efforts toward exploration -- be it returning to the moon, going to Mars, visiting asteroids, or whatever seems appropriate. We've got millions and millions of people who want to go into space, who are willing to pay. When you figure in the payload potential of customers, everything changes.
I would rather people understand that there is a very, very fortunate American who was given the opportunity, and was in the right place at the right time to have the moment of a lifetime. My mother was born - her name was Marianne Moon. And she was born in 1903, the year that the Wright Brothers first flew.
Did the Pilgrims on the Mayflower sit around Plymouth Rock waiting for a return trip? They came here to settle. And that's what we should be doing on Mars. When you go to Mars, you need to have made the decision that you're there permanently. The more people we have there, the more it can become a sustaining environment. Except for very rare exceptions, the people who go to Mars shouldn't be coming back. Once you get on the surface, you're there.
I think the public needs to be reminded just how much inspiration and intention was given throughout the world to be bold, to send human beings to the moon in the '60s and the '70s. It's important now to bring together the nations that weren't able to do it then and help them do it. We need to move forward.
The future is about wings and wheels and new forms of space transportation, along with our deep-space ambition to set foot on another world in our solar system: Mars. I firmly believe we will establish permanence on that planet. And in reaching for that goal, we can cultivate commercial development of the moon, the asteroid belt, the Red Planet itself and beyond.
There are a lot of reasons for not doing something. And if humanity had come up with all the reasons for not doing something we wouldn't have spread across the Earth the way we have. There's a curiosity, and I would submit that that curiosity will put human beings on the surface of Mars.
Dwelling on an engine failure for a pilot as he rolls down the runway is NOT what he should be thinking about - it's obtaining a smooth liftoff! But in the back of his mind, he knows exactly what to do (or pretty much) and in many cases, if he's alone in the fighter aircraft, he has to leave that aircraft in an ejection seat in a big hurry!
Standing on the Moon looking back at Earth - this lovely place you just came from - you see all the colours, and you know what they represent. Having left the water planet, with all that water brings to Earth in terms of colour and abudance life, the absence of water and atmosphere on the desolate surface of the Moon gives rise to a stark contrast.
What are you going to do with astronauts who first reach the surface of Mars and then turn around and rocket back home-ward? What are they going to do, write their memoirs? Would they go again? Having them repeat the voyage, in my view, is dim-witted. Why don't they stay there on Mars?