When we meet in an hour of change and challenge in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases the greater our ignorance unfolds. Despite the striking fact that most of the scientists that the world has ever known are alive and working today… Despite the fact that this nation’s own scientific manpower is doubling every 12 years in a rate of growth more than three times that of our population as a whole… Despite that, the vast stretches of the unknown and the unanswered and the unfinished still far outstrip our collective comprehension. No man can fully grasp how far and how fast we have come. But condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of man’s recorded history in a time span of but a half a century. Stated in these terms, we know very little about the first 40 years except at the end of them advanced man had learned to use the skins of animals to cover them. Then about ten years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only five years ago, man learned to write and use a cart with wheels. Christianity began less than two years ago The printing press came this year And then less than two months ago, during this whole 50-year span of human history, the steam engine provided a new source of power, Newton explored the meaning of gravity. Last month, electric lights and telephones and automobiles and airplanes became available. Only last week did we develop penicillin and television and nuclear power. And now if America’s new spacecraft succeeds in reaching Venus, we will have literally reached the stars before midnight tonight. This is a breathtaking pace and such a pace cannot help but create new ills as it dispels old New ignorance, new problems, new dangers. Surely the opening vistas of space promise high costs and hardships as well as high reward. So it is not surprising that some would have us stay where we are a little longer. To rest. To wait. But this city of Houston, this state of Texas, this country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wish to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who move forward and so will space William Bradford speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulty and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage. If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything It is that man in his quest for knowledge and progress is determined and cannot be deterred the exploration of space will go ahead whether we join in it or not. And it is one of the great adventures of all time and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in this race for space? Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the Industrial Revolution. The first waves of modern invention and the first wave of nuclear power. And this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it. We mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon, and to the planets beyond And we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding Yet the vows of this nation can only be fulfilled if we in this nation are first and therefore we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others all require us to make this effort to solve these mysteries. To solve them for the good of all men and to become the world’s leading spacefaring nation. We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained and new rights to be won and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology has no conscience of its own whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man. And only if the United States occupies a position of preeminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say that we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea But I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war without repeating the mistakes that man is made and extending his writ around this globe of ours There is no strife. No prejudice. No national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask “Why climb the highest mountain?” Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? 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. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills. because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept One we are unwilling to postpone and one we intend to win and the others too. Many years ago the Great British explorer George Mallory who was to die on Mount Everest was asked. Why did he want to climb it? He said because it is there. Well, space is there and we’re going to climb it and The moon and the planets are there. And new hope’s for knowledge and peace are there. And therefore as we set sail We ask God’s blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous And greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked. Thank you.