Fifty years ago today, a few weeks after the first American astronaut flew into space, President John F. Kennedy gave a now historic speech in which he outlined a mission for NASA: send a man to the moon by the end of that decade.
On this date in 1961, Kennedy addressed a joint session of Congress, with a worldwide television audience, and announced, "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth." This was seen as a bold mandate because America's experience up to this point was Alan Shepard's suborbital Freedom 7 mission, which launched just a few weeks earlier and lasted about 15 minutes.
More at the NASA website. NASA also today alerted reporters to an announcement to come later today about a new science mission "that will usher in a new era in planetary exploration." More on that here on Boing Boing soon.
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: email@example.com.