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Drivers of space exploration
Neil deGrasse TysonI think we are in a little bit of a moon race even if no one admits it publicly. China has met good on every one of their promises when they said, "We're going to put an astronaut, a taikonaut into orbit." They did that. They're going to build a space station, they're doing that. And so they want to say, declare they want to go to the moon, we should really take them seriously. If we feel threatened by that in any way, this is the kind of response that that triggers. That's why we went to the moon in the first place. Our cleansed memory of that period is, "Oh we're Americans and we're explorers." Well, we were in the middle of a Cold War, and we got scared when Russia, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, and we had to respond in some way for our own dignity, for our own place in the world. So a lot of things drive space exploration beyond just scientific motives.

 - Neil deGrasse Tyson (44803)