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Why Martin Luther King Jr Criticized the Apollo Moon Missions

via Nobel Prize
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NASA has delayed its plans to return humans to the moon with the Artemis missions, drawing attention to the historical context of the Apollo missions and the Civil Rights movement.

Martin Luther King Jr. expressed awe at scientific progress but also criticized the allocation of resources to space exploration while social issues persisted.

“[Notice] the Sun which scientists tell us is the center of the solar system,” he once said. (Trending: Trump Responds To Biden’s Bombing In Yemen)

“Our Earth revolves around this cosmic ball of fire once each year, traveling 584,000,000 miles in that year at the rate of 66,700 miles per hour or 1,600,000 miles per day. This means that this time tomorrow we will be 1,600,000 miles from where we are at this hundredth of a second. Look at that Sun again.”

“It may look rather near. But it is 93,000,000 miles from the Earth. In six months from now we will be on the other side of the Sun — 93,000,000 miles beyond it — and in a year from now we will have swung completely around it and back to where we are right now.”

His colleague, Ralph Abernathy, protested the Apollo 11 mission, leading to a constructive dialogue with NASA and a call for attention to poverty.

“There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance,” King Jr. said when accepting his Nobel Peace Prize.

“We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.”

“Without denying the value of scientific endeavor, there is a striking absurdity in committing billions to reach the moon where no people live, and from which none presently can benefit, while the densely populated slums are allocated minuscule appropriations… With the continuation of these strange values in a few years we can be assured that we will set a man on the moon and with an adequate telescope he will be able to see the slum on earth with their intensified congestion, decay, and turbulence,” he later said.

As NASA plans moon and Mars missions, King’s sentiments about societal priorities and resource allocation remain relevant.

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