Astrobotic Moon mission hitch is a reminder of JFK's inspirational words about pushing humanity's boundaries – Scotsman comment

Pushing against the boundaries of what is possible promotes the development of new technology that can be incredibly useful

The problems experienced by the Peregrine spacecraft on its mission to the Moon, which could potentially prevent it from landing, are a reminder that space exploration remains difficult. Despite the birth of space tourism and optimistic talk about sending humans to Mars, the slightest problem can prove catastrophic. Astrobotic, the company behind this first commercial Moon flight, said an “anomaly” was preventing the spacecraft from correctly deploying its solar panels. If it cannot charge its batteries, the mission may be over.

The situation demonstrates just how extraordinary an achievement the 1969 landing was. More than 50 years ago, scientists managed to put astronauts on the Moon using a guidance computer with just 80kb of memory. Despite that, it was a revolutionary device which helped drive advances in computer technology.

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In 1962, US President John Kennedy said: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things [like climb Everest], not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Despite inevitable setbacks, by doing what is hard, humanity can continue to make such ‘giant leaps’. We should never stop.

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