A Great Quest Takes Its Toll

Despite the tragedies of our space program, we have no choice but to push on

Our adventures in space have been a hymn of national purpose for a half-century, the many high notes of success tinged with somber tones of failure. But always the strains of tragedy have driven us to harder, more precise exertions. When the grief of Columbia's explosion passes, we will be closer together and still climbing "the wall of space" that John F. Kennedy described 40 years ago when he sent us to the moon.

As Americans, we cannot help ourselves. If we do not do these things, somebody else might. That is truly frightening. And fear still drives us.

There was...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!