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Our moon shot

Published February 16, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In 1961, President John Kennedy astounded the public by vowing to land an American on the moon "before this decade is out." Although the Russians were ahead in the space race at the time, we got there first in less than nine years.

Facing the climate challenge, the Chinese and Germans have invested heavily in wind and solar power. Again, we need to come from behind. Again, our president has called for drastic action.

The space race didn't simply get us to the moon; it triggered research, development and enterprise on many fronts. Our society and economy changed, becoming much stronger. We led the world in scientific and technological innovation.

Now we have another, very different shot at greatness: to fundamentally reshape the way we get and use energy. To move decisively, we need to phase out fossil fuels as much as possible, rather than dig and drill to get at the last, difficult to extract reserves.

We also need to see ourselves as we did not long ago: ready to think big, work bold, build new and thrive.

Robert Speiser

Salt Lake City