50 years since Kennedy's "moon shot" speech

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

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.