To the moon and back: 45 years since man's first steps

By Jerry Hume, Brevard County Reporter
Last Updated: Sunday, July 20, 2014, 6:28 PM EDT
viewer poll

It has been 42 years since humans went to the moon. Do you think it’s time to go back or head farther into space?

View all recent polls
This poll is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those internet users who have chosen to participate.
more information

Man landed on the moon 45 years ago.

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Sunday marks the 45th anniversary since Neil Armstrong uttered those famous words July 20, 1969, after Apollo 11 landed the first humans on the lunar surface.

Now, the question is will we ever return to the moon? NASA has its sights set somewhere else: Mars. But lawmakers, including the one who represents the Space Coast, would rather we return to the moon first.

Humans haven't been back to the moon since 1972, during Apollo 17.

Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla, who worked on the Apollo Program, now represents the Space Coast in Congress. He thinks the space program should return to Earth's closest celestial neighbor.

"The Russians are going to colonize the moon, the Chinese are going to colonize the moon, they've made no secret about it," Posey said. "We need to also have a presence there."

Posey said the moon would be a good stepping stone to Mars, which is NASA's current goal. But the space agency doesn't have the moon on its radar — at least not right now.

Posey's democratic opponent in this year's election, Gabriel Rothblatt, said NASA's focus should be Mars.

"I think NASA's mission should be to Mars," Rothblatt said. "NASA has gone to the moon, NASA has gone to orbit. NASA should be breaking the boundaries."

NASA is currently aiming to use an asteroid as a stepping stone to the red planet.

Posey believes a staging area on the moon would be more suitable than an asteroid.

Whatever the next mission, though, it won't be possible without a major funding boost from Congress.

NASA will mark the 45th anniversary of the moon landing tomorrow at the Kennedy Space Center. They're going to be renaming the historic Operations and Checkout Building after Neil Armstrong. Both of his Apollo 11 crewmates, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, are expected to be in attendance.