December 4th, 2003, 19:12 PM
To The Moon? Bush Said To Want New Lunar Program
President George W. Bush may be preparing to put the United States back on the path to the moon.
Several news Web sites -- especially those from the United Kingdom and Australia -- reported that manned missions to the moon could result in a permanent presense on Earth's only natural satellite.
It would be the first time in more than 30 years that people walk on the moon.
News.com.au reported that Bush will make the announcement either on Dec. 17, the 100th anniverary of the Wright brothers first flight, or in his State of the Union address in January.
The United States is the only nation that has landed people on the moon. In July 1969, Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the lunar surface, as part of the Apollo 11 mission, which eventually included five other lunar landings.
The lunar program was brought to public attention in the 1960s as the United States sought to catch up in the space race with the Soviet Union, which had launched the first manmade satellite, Sputnik.
In May 1961, President John F. Kennedy told Congress, "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 the earth."