Press Release

House Science Committee Chairman Boehlert Comments on Apollo 11 Mission

By SpaceRef Editor
July 20, 2004
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) today honored the 35th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission by praising its brave explorers, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, for extending the reach of humankind to the surface of the Moon.  Boehlert made his remarks to the House of Representatives during the debate on a resolution commemorating the lunar landing, which Boehlert introduced with Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas). 

As Chairman of the House Science Committee, Boehlert oversees the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the space program, and Boehlert meets regularly with former and current astronauts, including Buzz Aldrin.

Boehlert’s speech to the House follows:

“I rise in support of this resolution, which I was proud to co-sponsor with Mr. Hall. 

“At this time of fiscal constraint and international discord, it is good to remember that brief moment when the entire world, together, collectively held its breath, and watched as human beings stepped for the first time onto the surface of the moon.

“One sign of the success of the Apollo mission is that it is hard to conjure now just how strange and wondrous and awe-inspiring that moment was.  Neil Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin’s steps were the culmination of milliennia of human dreams and aspirations.

“Whatever else the Apollo program did, it fundamentally changed the human sense of the possible, it changed our sense of what was in reach.

“I would point out that the Apollo program also changed our sense of our own planet.  Those pictures of Earth as a blue dot revolving through empty space, those pictures of “Earthrise,” those pictures of an Earth whose air pollution could be picked out from miles up in space, with those pictures, the Apollo program also brought home the preciousness of our own planet – and its (and our) fragility.     

“So I want to join with my colleagues today in trying to recapture that sense of excitement, wonder and awe that space travel evoked.  I want to join in reminding Americans of the unique and courageous accomplishments of the Apollo astronauts and the scientists and engineers who worked behind the scenes.  And I want to encourage us all to think through all the lessons of the Apollo program.

“America must continue its ventures in space – manned and robotic.  And we need to think about how to ensure that those ventures will enrich our culture, our scientific understanding, our sense of what it means to be human, and our ability to survive on our own planet.

“The Apollo program has left us a remarkable legacy that we can respect best by continuing to debate its meaning.  Thank you.”

SpaceRef staff editor.