Side view of Kuiper "yelling."

Apollo 11 astronauts address Congress

Kuiper gives a historic speech.

On this day in 1969, at 12:34 pm Eastern, the Apollo 11 astronauts address a joint session of Congress in Washington DC. Brief excerpts:

Buzz Aldrin:

“…the footprints at Tranquility Base belong to more than the crew of Apollo 11. They were put there by hundreds of thousands of people across this country, people in Government, industry, and universities, the teams and crews that preceded us, all who strived throughout the years with Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. Those footprints belong to the American people and you, their representatives, who accepted and supported the inevitable challenge of the moon.”

“And, since we came in peace for all mankind those footprints belong also to all people of the world. As the moon shines impartially on all those looking up from our spinning earth so do we hope the benefits of space exploration will be spread equally with a harmonizing influence to all mankind.”

Michael Collins:

“During the flight of Apollo 11, in the constant sunlight between the earth and the moon..we had our choice. We could look toward the Moon, toward Mars, toward our future in space—toward the new Indies—or we could look back toward the Earth, our home, with its problems spawned over more than a millennium of human occupancy.”

“We looked both ways. We saw both, and I think that is what our Nation must do.”

“We can ignore neither the wealth of the Indies nor the realities of the immediate needs of our cities, our citizens, or our civics. We cannot launch our planetary probes from a springboard of poverty, discrimination, or unrest. But neither can we wait until each and every terrestrial problem has been solved.”

Neil Armstrong:

“Who knows what mysteries will be solved in our lifetime, and what new riddles will become the challenge of the new generations?”

“Science has not mastered prophesy. We predict too much for next year yet far too little for the next ten. Responding to challenge is one of democracy’s great strengths. Our successes in space lead us to hope that this strength can be used in the next decade in the solution of many of our planet’s problems.”

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