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To still boldly go

Manned spaceflight must not be stopped by the Columbia tragedy. It is good for science, business, culture and international politics

By Ian Crawford   March 2003

Thirty years ago, on 14th December 1972, the last two human beings to visit the moon, Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt, left the lunar surface at the conclusion of the highly successful Apollo 17 mission. Thus ended one of the greatest episodes in technological and organisational achievement in human history, and one which has left an enduring scientific legacy in our understanding of the origin and evolution of the solar system. However, without the motor of superpower rivalry, and eclipsed by economic concerns and pressing social and environmental problems, the dream of a human future in space has been allowed…

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