- President John F. Kennedy, from a speech at Rice University, September 12, 1962
Throughout the 1960s, America and the Soviet Union vied with each other to lead the field of space science. In this case study, we will follow the story of the space race up to the first manned moon landing using various archives from Gale Primary Sources, and see how our fully-searchable digitized primary sources can add extra depth to a research piece by adding reactions and opinions that are rarely included in reference works.
By using these primary sources, we can see the questions that were being asked by commentators and experts in space science, explore government documents to see what was happening behind the scenes, and how information and opinion around the space race was presented to the public through the press. Was space exploration really motivated by scientific exploration and discovery, or was it a political show of strength to boost national pride? Was it worth it, especially if it meant people losing their lives? Was it realistic to put a man on the moon, or would it be the first step in a journey deeper into space?
Part II: Into the Black Infinity
Was the space race worth it? Follow the story from 1963 to 1966, as public opinion of the space race changes, America begins to push ahead of the Soviets for the first time, and astronauts begin to leave the spacecraft and walk into the expanse Carl Sagan called the 'black infinity'.
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