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Eyes Turned Skyward
A star gazing, rocket riding, moon walking quote collection

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Science has not yet mastered prophecy. We predict too much for the next year and yet far too little for the next ten.

— Neil Armstrong, speech to joint session of Congress, 16 September 1969.

It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and reality of tomorrow.

— Robert Goddard, in E. M. Emme Introduction to the History of Rocket Technology, 1963

For my own part, I declare I know nothing whatever about it, but looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map. Why, I ask myself, shouldn—t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France?

— Vincent van Gogh, 1889.

The shape of the heaven is of necessity spherical; for that is the shape most appropriate to its substance and also by nature primary.

— Aristotle, De caelo (On the Heavens), J. L. Stocks translation, 350 BCE.

Ships and sails proper for the heavenly air should be fashioned. Then there will also be people, who do not shrink from the dreary vastness of space.

— Johannes Kepler, letter to Galileo Galilei, 1609.

As soon as somebody demonstrates the art of flying, settlers from our species of man will not be lacking [on the Moon and Jupiter]. . . . Who would have believed that a huge ocean could be crossed more peacefully and safely than the the narrow expanse of the Adriatic, the Baltic Sea or the English Channel? Provide ship or sails adapted to the heavenly breezes, and there will be some who will not fear even that void [of space]. . . . So, for those who will come shortly to attempt this journey, let us establish the astronomy: Galileo, you of Jupiter, I of the Moon.

— Johannes Kepler, letter to Galileo Galilei, 'Conversation with the Messenger from the Stars,' 19 April 1610.

Yet I do seriously and on good grounds affirm it possible to make a flying chariot in which a man may sit and give such a motion unto it as shall convey him through the air. And this perhaps might be made large enough to carry divers men at the same time, together with food for their viaticum and commodities for traffic. It is not the bigness of anything in this kind that can hinder its motion, if the motive faculty be answerable thereunto. We see a great ship swims as well as a small cork, and an eagle flies in the air as well as a little gnat. . . . 'Tis likely enough that there may be means invented of journeying to the Moon; and how happy they shall be that are first successful in this attempt.

— John Wilkins, A Discourse Concerning a New World and Another Planet, book 1, 1640.

A time would come when men should be able to stretch out their eyes. . . . They should see planets like our Earth.

— Christopher Wren, inauguration speech, Gresham College, 1657.

IWitness this new-made world, another Heav'n
From Heaven Gate not farr, founded in view
On the clear Hyaline, the Glassie Sea;
Of amplitude almost immense, with Starr's
Numerous, and every Starr perhaps a world
Of destined habitation.

— John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 7, 1674.

The Art of Flying is but newly invented, 'twill improve by degrees, and in time grow perfect; then we may fly as far as the Moon.

— Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle, A week's conversation on the plurality of worlds, 1686. (English translation by William Gardiner, 1728.)

Our sun enlightens the planets that belong to him; why may not every fixed star also have planets to which they give light?

— Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle, A week's conversation on the plurality of worlds, 1686. (English translation by William Gardiner, 1728.)

They have likewise discovered two lesser stars, or satellites, which revolve around Mars, whereof the innermost is distant from the center of the primary exactly three of his diameters, and the outermost five: the former revolves in the space of ten hours, and the latter in twenty-one and a half, so that the squares of their periodical times are very near in the same proportion with the cubes of their distances from the center of Mars; which evidently shews them to be governed by the same Law of Gravitation that influences the other heavenly bodies.

— Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, 1726.

Scarce any problem will appear more hard and difficult, than that of deternining the distance of the Sun from the Earth very near the truth; but even this, when we are made acquainted with some exact observations . . . will without much labour be effected.

— Edmond Halley, 6 June 1761.

I suppose we shall soon travel by air-vessels; make air instead of sea voyages; and at length find our way to the Moon, in spite of the want of atmosphere.

— Lord Byron, 1822

On the subject of stars, all investigations which are not ultimately
reducible to simple visual observations are ... necessarily denied to
us. While we can conceive of the possibility of determining their
shapes, their sizes, and their motions, we shall never be able by any
means to study their chemical composition or their mineralogical
structure ... Our knowledge concerning their gaseous envelopes is
necessarily limited to their existence, size ... and refractive power,
we shall not at all be able to determine their chemical composition or
even their density... I regard any notion concerning the true mean
temperature of the various stars as forever denied to us.

— Auguste Comte, Cours de la Philosophie Positive, 1835. Fourteen years later Kirchhoff discovered the chemical composition of a gas could be deduced from its electromagnetic spectrum.

Men might as well project a voyage to the Moon as attempt to employ steam navigation against the stormy North Atlantic Ocean.

— Dr. Dionysus Lardner, Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, University College, London, 1838.

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, Argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales;
Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain'd a ghastly dew,
From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue.

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Locksley Hall, 1842.

In spite of the opinions of certain narrow-minded people, who would shut up the human race upon this globe, as within some magic circle which it must never outstep, we shall one day travel to the moon, the planets, and the stars, with the same facility, rapidity, and certainty as we now make the voyage from Liverpool to New York!

— Jules Verne, From the Earth to the Moon, 1865. Original French "À en croire certains esprits bornés, — c'est le qualificatif qui leur convient, — l'humanité serait renfermée dans un cercle de Popilius qu'elle ne saurait franchir, et condamnée à végéter sur ce globe sans jamais pouvoir s'élancer dans les espaces planétaires! Il n'en est rien! On va aller à la Lune, on ira aux planètes, on ira aux étoiles, comme on va aujourd'hui de Liverpool à New York, facilement, rapidement, sûrement, et l'océan atmosphérique sera bientôt traversé comme les océans de la Lune!"

I believe, sir, in all the progress. Air navigation is the result of the oceanic navigation: from water the human has to pass in the air. Everywhere where creation will be breathable to him, the human will penetrate into the creation. Our only limit is life. There where ends the air column which prevents our machine to burst, the human has to stop. But he can, owes, and wants to go to there, and he will go. You can do it. I take the biggest interest in your useful and brave perpendicular journeys. You ingenious and fearless companion, Mr W. de Fontevielle, has as Mr. Victor Meunier the superior instinct of the true science. I would have the magnificent taste of the scientific adventure. Adventure in the fact, the hypothesis in the idea, here is the two big processes of discovery. Certainly, the future is for air navigation and the duty of the present is to work for the future. You are just now endorsing this duty. I, solitary person, but attentive, I am your eyes and I say to you: Courage!

— Victor Hugo, letter sent to Gaston Tissandier, 9 March 1869.

From the moment they had left the Earth, their own weight, and that of the Projectile and the objects therein contained, had been undergoing a progressive diminution. . . . Of course, it is quite clear, that this decrease could not be indicated by an ordinary scales, as the weight to balance the object would have lost precisely as much as the object itself. But a spring balance, for instance, in which the tension of the coil is independent of attraction, would have readily given the exact equivalent of the loss.

— Jules Verne, describing weight loss in space, Round the Moon, first published in French in 1870.

And then, the Earth being small, mankind will migrate into space, and will cross the airless Saharas which separate planet from planet and sun from sun. The Earth will become a Holy Land which will be visited by pilgrims from all the quarters of the Universe. Finally, men will master the forces of Nature; they will become themselves architects of systems, manufacturers of worlds.

— Winwood Reade, The Martyrdom of Man, 1872.

The universe is asymmetric and I am persuaded that life, as it is known to us, is a direct result of the asymmetry of the universe or if its indirect consequences.

— Louis Pasteur, Comptes Rendus de l'Acad—mie des Sciences, 1 June 1874.

The observed body does not, in free space, exert any force on what lies beneath it, and vice versa. Therefore, if dwellings were needed in free space, they could not — however great their size — collapse because of their instability.
Entire mountains and castles of arbitrary shape and size could keep their position in free space without any support, or any connection with a support.
There is neither up nor down, there. For example, there is no such thing as down, because 'down' is in the direction in which bodies move at accelerated speeds. . . . Just as the Moon hovers above the earth without falling down to it, so a man there can hover over a chasm which would be frightening to earthlings. He is not, of course, suspended by ropes but hovers like a bird; or rather, like a counterpoised aerostat, since he has no wings.

— Konstantin E. Tsiokovsky, Russian rocketry theorist, Free Space, the first serious description of weightlessness, 1883.

Consider a cask filled with a highly compressed gas. If we open one of its taps the gas will escape through it in a continuous flow, the elasticity of the gas pushing its particles into space will continuously push the cask itself. The result will a continuous change in the motion of the cask. Given a sufficient number of taps (say, six), we would be able to regulate the outflow of the gas as we liked and the cask (or sphere) would describe any curved line in accordance with any law of velocities.

— Konstantin E. Tsiokovsky, Free Space, explaining how a rocket works in space, 1883.

One: There is a low limit of weight [of about] 50 pounds beyond which it is impossible for an animal to fly.
Two: The animal machine is far more effective than any we can hope to make.
Three: The weight of any machine constructed for flying, including fuel and engineer, cannot be less than three or four hundred pounds.
Is it not demonstrated that a true flying machine, self-raising, self-sustaining, self-propelling, is physically impossible?

— Professor Joseph Le Conte, University of California, Popular Science Monthly, November 1888.

We are probably nearing the limit of all we can know about astronomy.

— widely attributed to Simon Newcomb, 1888, but no source information seems to exist.

The distance between the earth and her satellite is a mere trifle, and undeserving of serious consideration. I am convinced that before twenty years are over one-half of our earth will have paid a visit to the moon.

— Jules Verne, From Earth to the Moon, 1890.

In spite of the opinions of certain narrow-minded people. who would shut up the human race upon this globe, as within some magic circle which it must never outstep, we shall one day travel to the moon, the planets, and the stars, with the same facility, rapidity, and certainly as we now make the voyage from Liverpool to New York.

— Jules Verne, From Earth to the Moon, 1890.

Some think that solar work is pretty well played out. In reality, it is only beginning.

— George Ellery Hale, letter to H. M. Goodman, 5 March 1893.

To set foot on the soil of the asteroids, to lift by hand a rock from the Moon, to observe Mars from a distance of several tens of kilometers, to land on its satellite or even on its surface, what can be more fantastic? From the moment of using rocket devices a new great era will begin in astronomy: the epoch of the more intensive study of the firmament.

— Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky, 1896.

I have not the smallest molecule of faith in aerial navigation other than ballooning, or of the expectation of good results from any of the trials we heard of. So you will understand that I would not care to be a member of the Aeronautical Society.

— Lord Kelvin, replying to an invitation from Major B. F. S. Baden-Powell to join the Royal Aeronautical Society, 1896.

All this world is heavy with the promise of greater things, and a day will come, one days in the unending succession of days, when beings, beings who are now latent in our thoughts and hidden in our loins, shall stand upon this Earth as one stands upon a footstool and laugh and reach out their hands amidst the stars.

— H. G. Wells, 'The Discovery of the Future,' Nature, 6 February 1902.

The example of the bird does not prove that man can fly. Imagine the proud possessor of the aeroplane darting through the air at a speed of several hundred feet per second. It is the speed alone that sustains him. How is he ever going to stop?

— Simon Newcomb, in the Independent, 22 October 1903.

All attempts at artificial aviation are not only dangerous to life but doomed to failure from an engineering standpoint.

— editor of The Times of London, 1905.

It is complete nonsense to believe flying machines will ever work.

— Sir Stanley Mosley, 1905.

The demonstration that no possible combination of known substances, known forms of machinery and known forms of force, can be united in a practical machine by which man shall fly long distances through the air, seems to the writer as complete as it is possible for the demonstration of any physical fact to be.

— Simon Newcomb, professor of mathematics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, Side-lights on Astronomy and Kindred Fields of Popular Science, 1906

A popular fallacy is to expect enormous speed to be obtained . . . . There is no hope of competing for racing speed with either our locomotives or our automobiles.

— William Pickering, Harvard astronomer, Aeronautics, 1908.

A planet is the cradle of mind, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.

— Konstantin E. Tsiokovsky, astronautics pioneer. Original Russian: "Планета есть колыбель разума, но нельзя вечно жить в колыбели." This is almost always incorrectly quoted as "Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever." Letter written in 1911

Humanity will not remain on the earth forever, but in pursuit of light and space it will at first timidly penetrate beyond the limits of the atmosphere, and then conquer all the space around the sun.

— Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky, letter of 12 August 1911. This phrase is carved on his tombstone.

1.  The present state of science and technological knowledge permits the building of machines that can rise beyond the limits of the atmosphere of the Earth.

2.  After further development these machines will be capable of attaining such velocities that they - left undisturbed in the void of the ether space - will not fall back to Earth; furthermore, they will even be able to leave the zone of terrestrial attraction.

3.  Such machines can be built in such a way that they will be able to carry humans (probably without endangering their health).

4.  Under certain condition the manufacture of such machines might be profitable. Such conditions might develop within a few decades.

— Hermann Oberth, foreword to By Rocket into Planetary Space (Die Rakete zu den Planetenr—umen), a book created from his rejected 1922 dissertation, 1923.

The sun, the Moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago . . .  had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands.

— Havelock Ellis, The Dance of Life, 1923.

A time will come when science will transform [our bodies] by means we cannot conjecture. . . . And then, the earth being small, mankind will migrate into space, and will cross the airless Saharas which separate planet from planet, and sun from sun. The earth will become a Holy Land which will be visited by pilgrims from all quarters of the universe.

— Winwood Reade, The Martyrdom of Man, 1926.

This foolish idea of shooting at the moon is an example of the absurd length to which vicious specialisation will carry scientists working in thought-tight compartments. Let us critically examine the proposal, For a projectile entirely to escape the gravitation of earth, it needs a velocity of 7 miles a second. The thermal energy of a gramme at this speed is 15,180 calories. . . . The energy of our most violent explosive—nitroglycerine—is less than 1,500 calories per gramme. Consequently, even had the explosive nothing to carry, it has only one-tenth of the energy necessary to escape the earth. . . . hence the proposition appears to be basically impossible.

— A. W. Bickerton, Professor of Physics and Chemistry, Canterbury College, Christchurch, 1926.

Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer that we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.

— J. B. S. Haldane, Possible Worlds, 1927.

No rocket will reach the moon save by a miraculous discovery of an explosive far more energetic than any known. And even if the requisite fuel were produced, it would still have to be shown that the rocket machine would operate at 459 degrees below zero—the temperature of interplanetary space.

— Nikola Tesla, November 1928.

Since the beginning of time, mankind has considered it as an expression of its Earthly weakness and inadequacy to be bound to the Earth, to be unable to free itself from the mysterious shackles of gravity. Not without good reason then has the concept of the transcendental always been associated with the idea of weightlessness, the power 'to be able freely to rise into the sky.' And most people even today still take it as a dogma that it is indeed unthinkable for Earthly beings ever to be able to escape the Earth. Is this point of view really justified?

However, the purpose of the present considerations is not an attempt to convince anyone that we will be able tomorrow to travel to other celestial bodies. It is only an attempt to show that traveling into outer space should no longer be viewed as something impossible for humans but presents a problem that really can be solved by technical work. The overwhelming greatness of the goal should make all the roadblocks still standing in its way appear insignificant.

—Hermann Noordung (real name Potocnik), first and last paragraphs of the groundbreaking book The Problem of Space Travel: The Rocket motor (Das Problem der Befahrung des Weltraums: Der Raketen Motor), 1929.

Our descendants will certainly attempt journeys to other members of the solar system. . . . By 2030 the first preparations for the first attempt to reach Mars may perhaps be under consideration. The hardy individuals who form the personnel of the expedition will be sent forth in a machine propelled like a rocket.

— Lord Birkenhead, 1930

Everything is becoming science fiction. From the margins of an almost invisible literature has sprung the intact reality of the 20th century.

— J. G. Ballard, 1930.

The time will come when man will know even what is going on in the other planets and perhaps be able to visit them.

— Henry Ford, Theosophist magazine, February 1930.

It is reasonable to hope that in a not too distant future we shall be competent to understand so simple a thing as a star.

— Sir Arthur Eddington, The Internal Constitution of the Stars, 1930.

It is my contention that an agent ideal to the use of the scientific militarist, for both the air raid and the long distance bombardment is now in the process of development; that its eventual perfection is but a matter of time; and its use in warfare is certain to occur. I refer to the rocket. The perfection of the rocket in my opinion will give to future warfare the horror unknown in previous conflicts and will make possible destruction of nations, in a cool, passionless and scientific fashion.

— David Lasser, 22 October 1931.

There is no hope for the fanciful idea of reaching the Moon because of insurmountable barriers to escaping the earth's gravity.

— Dr. F. R. Moulton, University of Chicago astronomer, 1932.

If there is a possibility of cosmonautics, Man will not hesitate to leave the Earth to launch himself into interplanetary space at the risk of loosing his own life.

— G. A. Crocco, at the 5th Volta Conference, 1935.

It must be stated that there is not the slightest possibility of such a journey. There is not in sight any source of energy that would be a fair start toward that which would be necessary to get us beyond the gravitative control of the earth. There is no theory that would guide us through interplantary space to another world even if we could control our departure from the earth; there is no means of carrying the large amount oxygen, water, and food that would be necessary for such a long journey; and there is not known way of easing our ether ship down on the surface of another world, if we could get there.

— Professor Forest Ray Moulton, astronomer, Consider The Heavens, 1935

The universe will finally become a ball of radiation, becoming more and more rarified and passing into longer and longer wave-lengths. The longest waves of radiation are Hertzian waves of the kind used in broadcasting. About every 1500 million years this ball of radio waves will double in diameter; and it will go on expanding in geometrical progression for ever. Perhaps then I may describe the end of the physical world as—one stupendous broadcast.

— Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, New Pathways in Science, 1935.

Even present-day fuels possess more than enough energy, if only we knew how to release and use it. Just as molecular energy is so freely used to-day, so atomic energy may bring interplantary travel within easy reach to-morrow.

— P. E. Cleator, Rockets Through Space: The Dawn of Interplanetary Travel, 1936.

The whole procedure [of shooting rockets into space] . . . presents difficulties of so fundamental a nature, that we are forced to dismiss the notion as essentially impracticable, in spite of the author's insistent appeal to put aside prejudice and to recollect the supposed impossibility of heavier-than-air flight before it was actually accomplished. An analogy such as this may be misleading, and we believe it to be so in this case.

— Sir Richard van der Riet Wooley, British astronomer, reviewing P.E. Cleator's 'Rockets Through Space,' in Nature, 14 March 1936

The acceleration which must result from the use of rockets . . . inevitably would damage the brain beyond repair. The exact rate of acceleration in feet per second that the human brain can survive is not known. It is almost certainly not enough, however, to render flight by rockets possible.

— John P. Lockhard-Mummery, MA, BC, FRCS, 'After Us,' 1936.

While we may invite the charge of obstructionism if we dismiss the whole affair as a wild-cat speculation, it is necessary for us to remark that, while the ratio of research results accomplished to speculative theorising is so low, little confidence can be placed in the deliberations of the British interplanetary Society.

— 'Nature,' 15 April 1939.

It looked like a fiery sword going into the sky. There came this enormous roar and the whole sky seemed to vibrate; this kind of unearthly roaring was something human ears had never heard. It is very hard to describe what you feel when you stand on the threshold of a whole new era; of a whole new age. . . . It's like those people must have felt—Columbus or Magellan—that for the first time saw entire new worlds and knew the world would never be the same after this. . . . We know the space age had begun.

— Dr. Walter Robert Dornberger, regards the first successful flight of the A-4 rocket, to the edge of space, 3 October 1942.

We can see no more clearly all the utility and implications of spaceships than the Wright brothers could see the fleets of B-29s bombing Japan and air transports circling the globe.

— Douglas Aircraft Company, Inc. Preliminary Design of an Experimental World-Circling Spaceship, RAND Report SM-11827, 2 May 1946.

Cover of RAND report SM-11827

Though the crystal ball is cloudy, two things seem clear:
1. A satellite vehicle with appropriate instrumentation can be expected to be one of the most potent scientific tools of the Twentieth Century.
2. The achievement of a satellite craft by the United States would inflame the imagination of mankind, and would probably produce repercussions in the world comparable to the explosion the of atomic bomb.

— Douglas Aircraft Company, Inc. Preliminary Design of an Experimental World-Circling Spaceship, RAND Report SM-11827, 2 May 1946.

The moon is within reach. The trip will not be made tomorrow, but many rocket experts believe it will not be long.

— 'A Trip to the Moon and back' published in the Sacramento Bee newspaper, 13 February 1947

The most fascinating aspect of successfully launching a satellite would be the pulse quickening stimulation it would give to considerations of interplanetary travel. Whose imagination is not fired by the possibility of voyaging out beyond the limits of our earth, traveling to the Moon, to Venus and Mars? Such thoughts when put on paper now seem like idle fancy. But, a man-made satellite, circling our globe beyond the limit of the atmosphere is the first step. The other necessary steps would surely follow in rapid succession. Who would be so bold as to say that this might not come within our time?

— Louis N. Ridenour, RAND's Role in the Evolution of Balloon and Satellite Observation Systems and Related U.S. Space Technology, February 1947.

Landing and moving around the moon offers so many serious problems for human beings that it may take science another 200 years to lick them.

Science Digest, August 1948.

The choice, as Wells once said, is the Universe—or nothing. . . . The challenge of the great spaces between the worlds is a stupendous one; but if we fail to meet it, the story of our race will be drawing to its close. Humanity will have turned its back upon the still untrodden heights and will be descending again the long slope that stretches, across a thousand million years of time, down to the shores of the primeval sea.

— Arthur C. Clarke, last words of his first book, Interplanetary Flight, 1950.

The younger generation of rocket engineers is just beginning. They are of the new generation to which space travel is not going to be a dream of the future but an everyday job with everyday worries in which they will be engaged.

— Willy Ley, 1951

Satellite vehicles represent a rather fearsome foresight of future wars of nerves, in which aggressive nations could put their pilotless missiles into frictionless satellite motion round the earth for all to see and fear, with the constant threat of guiding them down to a target.

— W. F. Hilton, High-Speed Aerodynamics, 1952.

Development of the space station is as inevitable as the rising of the sun; man has already poked his nose into space and he is not likely to pull it back . . . . There can be no thought of finishing, for aiming at the stars—both literally and figuratively—is the work of generations, and no matter how much progress one makes, there is always the thrill of just beginning.

— Werner von Braun, 1952.

What can there be concerning outer space but ignorance?

— Nigel Kneale, The Quatermass Experiment, 1953.

Science has reached such a stage that . . . the creation of an artificial satellite of the Earth is a real possibility.

— A. N. Nesmeyanov, USSR Academy of Sciences, at the World Peace Council in Vienna, 1953.

If humans want to work in the vacuum outside their spaceships they must do it in solid walled cylinders—if they want to walk on the surface of the Moon they will have to do so by means of mechanical or leglike appendages.

— Science editor of Life magazine, reporting on USAF doctors opinions, 31 August 1953.

The first men who set out for Mars had better make sure they leave everything at home in apple-pie order. They won't get back to earth for more than two and a half years. The difficulties of a trip to mars are formidable. . . . What curious information will these first explorers carry back from Mars? Nobody knows—and its extremely doubtful that anyone now living will ever know. All that can be said with certainty today is this: the trip will be made, and will be made . . . someday.

— Wernher von Braun with Cornelius Ryan, Can We Get to Mars?, 1954.

Despite the immense distance between our own solar system (including the earth) and the nearest other solar systems, a journey from one system to another is theoretically possible, once an unlimited source of power is developed.

— Hermann Oberth, 'Flying Saucers Come from a Distant World,' in The American Weekly, 24 October 1954.

The exploration of the planets is now closer to us in time than the exploration of Africa by Stanley and Livingstone.

— Arthur C. Clarke, The Saturday Review, volume 38, 1955.

If we were to start today on an organized and well-supported space program I believe a practical passenger rocket can be built and tested within ten years.

—Wernher von Braun, on the 'Tomorrowland' segment of TV show Disneyland, 9 March 1955.

[Space travel] is utter bilge. I don't think anybody will ever put up enough money to do such a thing. . . . It is all rather rot.

— Sir Richard van der Riet Wooley, on assuming the post of British Astronomer Royal, Time magazine, 16 January 1956.

In the final decade of the twenty-first century, men and women had landed on the Moon . . .

— first words of the movie The Forbidden Planet, 1956.

To place a man in a multi-stage rocket and project him into the controlling gravitational field of the Moon where the passengers can make scientific observations, perhaps land alive, and then return to earth—all that constitutes a wild dream worthy of Jules Verne. I am bold enough to say that such a man-made voyage will never occur regardless of all future advances.

— Dr. Lee DeForest, the New York Times, 25 February 1957.

Space travel is bunk.

— Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of Britain, two weeks before the launch of Sputnik I, 1957

[U.S.] has lost a battle more important and greater than Pearl Harbor.

— Dr Edward Teller, University of California, TV commentary regards the launch of Sputnik I, October 1957.

Really exotic methods of propulsion . . . will have to be devised to get there. How it will be done, I do not know. Whether it will be done, I am not quite certain. But I would bet it can be done.

— Dr Edward Teller, regards interstellar travel, 1957.

No matter what we do now, the Russians will beat us to the Moon . . . I would not be surprised if the Russians reached the Moon within a week.

— John Rinehart, Smithsonian Institution. October 1957.

Control of space means control of the world.

— Then U.S. Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, meeting of the Democratic conference, 7 January 1958.

The Roman Empire controlled the world because it could build roads . . . the British Empire was dominant because it had ships. In the air age we were powerful because we had airplaines. Now the Communists have established a foothold in outer space.

— Lyndon B. Johnson, 1958

From my childhood it has been my conviction that men would reach the planets in my lifetime . . . this conviction . . . rests on two beliefs, one scientific and one political:
(1) there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our present-day science. And we shall only find out what they are if we go out and look for them.
(2) it is in the long run essential to the growth of any new and high civilization that small groups of people can escape from their neighbors and from their governments, to go and live as they please in the wilderness.

— Freeman Dyson, physicist, A Space Traveler—s Manifesto, July 1958.

Men who have worked together to reach the stars are not likely to descend together into the depths of war and desolation.

— Then U.S. Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, addressing the U.N. General Assembly, 1958.

I know that some knowledgeable people fear that although we might be willing to spend a couple of billion dollars in 1958, because we still remember the humiliation of Sputnik last October, next year we will be so preoccupied by color television, or new-style cars, or the beginning of another national election, that we will be unwilling to pay another year's installment on our space conquest bill. For that to happen well, I'd just as soon we didn't start.

— attributed to Hugh L. Dryden

[Before man reaches the Moon] your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to England, to India or to Australia by guided missiles. . . . We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.

— Arthur E. Summerfield, AP wire report, 23 January 1959.

Across the gulf of centuries, the blind smile of Homer is turned upon our age. Along the echoing corridors of time, the roar of the rockets merges now with the creak of the wind-taut rigging. For somewhere in the world today, still unconscious of his destiny, walks the boy who will be the first Odysseus of the Age of Space.

— Arthur C. Clarke, The Challenge of the Spaceship, 1959.

I feel that I'm in on the ground floor of something that human beings will be concentrating on for the next 1,000 yearsif we don't destroy ourselves in the meantime. It's possible that 50 years from now we're going to end up out of this solar system, batting around the universe, at least within our galaxy, investigating other stars and other systems.

— Donald Slayton, one of the original Mercury seven, and later NASA's first Chief Astronaut. Life magazine, 14 September 1959.

Flight into the Cosmos by a rocket will never be like an outing on a boat or a trip on a tram. . . . Science and technology are swiftly moving ahead, and, perhaps, already toward the end of our century the construction of a cable way to the heavens will begin.

—Yuri Artsutanov, 'To the Cosmos by Electric Train,' early predictions of a cable to space, Pravda, the original (and a translation) are onlin, 31 July 1960.

The first man-made satellite to orbit the earth was named Sputnik. The first living creature in space was Laika. The first rocket to the Moon carried a red flag. The first photograph of the far side of the Moon was made with a Soviet camera. If a man orbits the earth this year his name will be Ivan.

— Then U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy, in Missiles and Rockets (but actually written by Edward O. Welsh), 10 October 1960.

But does Man have any 'right' to spread through the universe? Man is what he is, a wild animal with the will to survive, and (so far) the ability, against all competition. Unless one accepts that, anything one says about morals, war, politics, you name it, is nonsense. Correct morals arise from knowing what man is, not what do-gooders and well-meaning old Aunt Nellies would like him to be. The Universe will let us know - later - whether or not Man has any "right" to expand through it.

— Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers, 1960.

I believe as a matter of faith that the extension of space travel to the limits of the solar system will probably be accomplished in several decades, perhaps before the end of the century. Pluto is 4000 million miles from the sun. The required minimum launching velocity is about 10 miles per second and the transit time is 46 years. Thus we would have to make the velocity considerably higher to make the trip interesting to man. Travel to the stars is dependent on radically new discoveries in science and technology. The nearest star is 25 million million miles way and requires a travel time of more than four years at the speed of light. Prof. Dr. Ing. E. Sanger has speculated that velocities comparable with the speed of light might be attained in the next century, but such extrapolation of current technology is probably not very reliable.

— Hugh L. Dryden, Popular Mechanics, September 1961.

There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States.

— T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, 1961. The first commercial communications satellite became operational in 1965.

With our present knowledge, we can respond to the challenge of stellar space flight solely with intellectual concepts and purely hypothetical analysis. Hardware solutions are still entirely beyond our reach and far, far away.

— Wernher von Braun, 'Can We Ever Go to the Stars?' Popular Science magazine, July 1963.

The United States of America has no intention of finishing second in space. This effort is expensive—but it pays its way for freedom and for America.

— Prepared remarks for President John F. Kennedy, to be deliveried in Dallas on 22 November 1963. He was assassinated that afternoon.

The odds are now that the United States will not be able to honour the 1970 manned-lunar-landing data set by Mr. Kennedy.

New Scientist, 30 April 1964.

I am quite pessimistic about ever achieving interstellar travel.

— Theodore von K—rm—n, The Wind and Beyond, 1967.

The creative conquest of space will serve as a wonderful substitute for war.

— James S. McDonnell, Time magazine, 31 March 1967.

Nothing will stop us. The road to the stars is steep and dangerous. But we're not afraid . . . Space flights can't be stopped. This isn't the work of one man or even a group of men. It is a historical process which mankind is carrying out in accordance with the natural laws of human development.

— Yuri Gagarin, regards the first death in space (Vladimir Komarov), 1967.

I know that some knowledgeable people fear that although we might be willing to spend a couple of billion dollars in 1958, because we still remember the humiliation of Sputnik last October, next year we will be so preoccupied by color television, or new-style cars, or the beginning of another national election, that we will be unwilling to pay another year's installment on our space conquest bill. For that to happen well, I'd just as soon we didn't start.

— Hugh L. Dryden

The ability to carry out scientific observations at a distance is developing so rapidly that I don't see any unique role for man in planetary exploration.

— Gordon MacDonald, National Academy of Sciences, 1968.

Every age has its dreams, its symbols of romance. Past generations were moved by the graceful power of the great windjammers, by the distant whistle of locomotives pounding through the night, by the caravans leaving on the Golden Road to Samarkand, by quinqueremes of Nineveh from distant Ophir . . . Our grandchildren will likewise have their inspiration—among the equatorial stars. They will be able to look up at the night sky and watch the stately procession of the Ports of Earth—the strange new harbors where the ships of space make their planetfalls and their departures.

— Arthur C. Clarke, The Promise of Space, 1968.

By the year 2000 we will undoubtedly have a sizable operation on the Moon, we will have achieved a manned Mars landing and it's entirely possible we will have flown with men to the outer planets.

— Wernher von Braun, 1969.

There are flying grandfathers. But I intend to be an orbiting grandfather.

— Wernher von Braun, 20 July 1969.

The Post-Apollo manned space flight program is focusing on a 100-man Earth-orbiting station with a multiplicity of capabilities varying from development of earth resources to astronomy. . . . The schedule under consideration contemplates a launch of the first module of the large space station, with perhaps as many as 12 men, by 1975. Using the concept of modularity, NASA's advanced manned mission planners for see the gradual, incremental buildup of the initial station to a large base accommodating 100 men by 1980.

Aviation Week & Space Technology, 24 February 1969.

I have been in relatively high-risk businesses all of my adult life. Few of the others, however, had the possibility of direct gains in knowledge which this one had. I have confidence in the equipment, the planning, the training. I suspect that on a risk-gain ratio, this project would compare very, very favorably with those to which I've been accustomed on the past 20 years.

Neil Armstrong, Life magazine, 4 July 1969.

As a method of sending a missile to the higher, and even to the highest parts of the earth's atmospheric envelope, Professor Goddard's rocket is a practicable and therefore promising device. It is when one considers the multiple-charge rocket as a traveler to the Moon that one begins to doubt ... for after the rocket quits our air and really starts on its journey, its flight would be neither accelerated nor maintained by the explosion of the charges it then might have left. Professor Goddard, with his "chair" in Clark College and countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution, does not know the relation of action to re-action, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react ... Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.

— the New York Times editorial, 13 January 1920.

Further investigation and experimentation have confirmed the findings of Isaac Newton in the 17th century, and it is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum as well as in an atmosphere. The Times regrets the error.

—the New York Times, 17 July 1969.

If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible he is almost certainly right, but if he says that it is impossible he is very probably wrong.

— Arthur C. Clarke, in the New Yorker magazine, 9 August 1969.

One day the stars will be as familiar to each man as the landmarks, the curves, and the hills on the road that leads to his door, and one day that will be an airborne life.

— Beryl Markham, West With The Night.

My friends they were dancing here in the streets of Huntsville when our first satellite orbited the Earth. They were dancing again when the first Americans landed on the Moon. I'd like to ask you, don't hang up your dancing slippers.

— Wernher von Braun

Many people are shrinking from the future and from participation in the movement toward a new, expanded reality. And, like homesick travelers abroad, they are focusing their anxieties on home. The reasons are not far to seek. We are at a turning point in human history. . . . We could turn our attention to the problems that going to the Moon certainly will not solve ... But I think this would be fatal to our future. . . . A society that no longer moves forward does not merely stagnate; it begins to die.

— Margaret Mead, 'Man on the Moon,' Redbook Magazine, 1969.

In all the history of mankind there will be only one generation which will be the first to explore the solar system, one generation for which, in childhood the planets are distant and indistinct discs moving through the night, and for which in old age the planets are places, diverse new worlds in the course of exploration. There will be a time in our future history when the solar system will be explored and inhabited by men who will be looking outward toward the first trip to the stars. To them and to all who come after us, the present moment will be a pivotal instant in the history of mankind.

— Carl Sagan, London lecture at Eugene, Oregon, 1970.

Every civilization [in the universe] must go through this [a nuclear crisis]. Those that don't make it destroy themselves. Those that do make it end up cavorting all over the universe.

— Ted Taylor, quoted by J. McPhee in The Curve of Binding Energy, 1974.

The shuttle tomorrow is truly like laying the last spike on the transcontinental railroad, only much more so. And whether or not we're going to see in in the next 10 or 20 years, there are people alive today who will see manufacturing in space from moon materials or from asteroids.

— Jerry Brown, Governor of California, 1977

As chairman of the Senate subcommittee responsible for NASA appropriations, I say not a penny for this nutty fantasy.

— Senator William Proxmire, 1977.

The frontier in space, embodied in the space colony, is one in which the interactions between humans and their environment is so much more sensitive and interactive and less tolerant of irresponsibility than it is on the whole surface of the Earth. We are going to learn how to relate to the Earth and our own natural environment here by looking seriously at space colony ecologies.

— Astronaut Rusty Schweickart, in L-5 News, 1977.

Before another century is done it will be hard for people to imagine a time when humanity was confined to one world, and it will seem to them incredible that there was ever anybody who doubted the value of space and wanted to turn his or her back on the Universe.

— Isaac Asimov, 1979.

In the wide and starry band of near-earth space, beginning about 200 miles up and extending to 22,300 miles, where a satellite can be placed in stationary orbit rotating in unison with the earth . . . [there is] the possibility of an industrial bonanza. Operating in this pure and virtually gravity-free environment, factories could produce novel materials worth as much as $30,000 a pound back here on earth. . . . No corporation affected by changes in technology can afford to ignore the new era of innovation that is about to begin.

— Gene Bylinsky, Fortune magazine, 29 January 1979.

We risk great peril if we kill off this spirit of adventure, for we cannot predict how and in what seemingly unrelated fields it will manifest itself. A nation that loses its forward thrust is in danger, and one of the most effective ways to retain that thrust is to keep exploring possibilities. The sense of exploration is intimately bound up with human resolve, and for a nation to believe that it is still committed to a forward motion is to ensure its continuance.

— James A. Michener, Proceedings of the 26th AAS Annual Conference,  Los Angeles, held 29 October 29 to 1 November, 1979.

The seemingly insuperable difficulties of deep-space travel suggest an intention to keep us fixed at home in our own solar system, and the physical nature of our part of the Universe, as well as the basic rules of physics and chemistry, have a warning look about them, like barriers designed to isolate intelligent life. This means that for us, unlike the situation for humble microorganisms, deep-space travel is probably a stark impossibility.

— Sir Fred Hoyle, The Intelligent Universe, 1983.

Our goal is nothing less than to establish the United States as the preeminent spacefaring nation. And next, for the new century, back to the Moon, back to the future, and this time back to stay. And then, a journey into tomorrow, a journey to another planet, a manned mission to Mars.

— President George Bush, speech outside the National Air and Space Museum, on the 20th anniversary of Apollo 11, 20 July 1989.

Our goal: To place Americans on Mars and to do it within the working lifetimes of scientists and engineers who will be recruited for the effort today. And just as Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to open the continent, our commitment to the Moon/Mars initiative will open the Universe. It's the opportunity of a lifetime, and offers a lifetime of opportunity.

— President George Bush, 2 February 1990.

Many, and some of the most pressing, of our terrestrial problems can be solved only by going into space. Long before it was a vanishing commodity, the wilderness as the preservation of the world was proclaimed by Thoreau. In the new wilderness of the Solar System may lie the future preservation of mankind.

— Arthur C. Clarke, 'What Is to Be Done?' in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 1992.

I was sure we'd go into space; sure we'd go to the Moon and planets; but I didn't really believe I'd live to see it. Or live to see it finished! That's something I never would have dreamed of: that we would go to the Moon, and abandon it after five years! . . . . You can't make much of a case for man in space until you've got efficient and reliable propulsion systems. Once we've got that, everything else will follow automatically. It only costs about a hundred dollars to go to the Moon - in terms of kilowatt hours, if you were to buy the energy from your friendly local power station. Whereas it costs about a billion dollars the way we've done it. . . . There's no reason why, in the next century, it should cost more to go to the Moon than it costs to fly around the world today.

— Arthur C. Clarke, Wired magazine interview July/August 1993.

History will remember the twentieth century for two technological developments: atomic energy and space flight.

— Neil Armstrong, 1994.

A universe that come from nothing in the big bang will disappear at the big crunch. Its glorious few zillion years of existence not even a memory.

— Paul Davis, The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe, 1994.

We want to build colonies on the Moon, Mars, the Moons of other planets, and even nearby asteroids. We want to make space tourism and commerce routine.

— Daniel S. Goldin, NASA administrator, 1995.

Soon there will be no one who remembers when spaceflight was still a dream, the reverie of reclusive boys and the vision of a handful of men.

— Wyn Wachhorst, 1995.

The next time I go into space, I'll be able to take by family with me.

— Kathy Thornton, four time Space Shuttle astronaut, on retiring from NASA, 1996.

Eventually we must leave Earthat least a certain number of our progeny must as our sun approaches the end of its solar life cycle. But just as terrestrial explorers have always led the way for settlers, this will also happen extraterrestrially. Earth is our cradle, not our final destiny.

— Edgar Mitchell, astronaut, The Way of the Explorer, 1996.

Flight out of the atmosphere is a simple thing to do and should have been available to the public twenty years ago. Ten years from now, we will have space tourism where you will be able to see the black sky and the curvature of the earth. It will be the most exciting roller coaster ride you can buy.

— Burt Rutan, in an interview with Design News, 1996.

Market studies suggest space tourism—a rubbernecker's trip to earth orbit—is likely to draw 50,000 passengers a year if the ticket can be pushed below $25,000. That's what tens of thousands of people spend each year on competing trips, such as round-the-world cruises on luxury liners and adventure tours to Antarctica or Mount Everest.

— G. Harry Stine, Editorial Commentary, Barron's, 21 Oct 1996.

There are no practical alternatives to air transportation.

— Daniel S. Goldin, NASA Administrator, 20 March 1997.

It is the last day, barring unforeseen circumstances, that we will not have a human presence in space.

— Richard LaBrode, U.S. flight director for the International Space Station, at mission control outside Moscow, 31 October, 2000.

Eventually everyone will have the opportunity to travel onto space.

— Lance Bass, member of boy-band *N Sync and world's wanna-be third space tourist, reported in the New York Times, 30 Aug 2002.

The Moon is ripe for commercial development. It's a lot closer than you think, at least in travel time, which is four days. . . . People will soon get to experience the Moon in ways they never imagined.

— Dennis Laurie, President of TransOrbital, first private company approved by the U.S. government to land on the Moon. 9 September 2002.

A lot of people think that all the things that could be invented have been invented. But we are just on the frontier of discovery and invention. It's a very exciting time.

— XCOR rocket plane test pilot Dick Rutan, 2003 television interview.

In my view it will not be long before space becomes a battleground.

— Lieutenant General Edward Anderson, deputy commander of US Northern Command, hours after China became the third country after the US and the former Soviet Union to put a man in space. 15 October 2003.

We'll build new ships to carry man forward into the universe, to gain a new foothold on the Moon and to prepare for new journeys to the worlds beyond our own. . . . We do not know where this journey will end, yet we know this: human beings are headed into the cosmos.

— President George W. Bush, speech at NASA headquarters, 14 January 2004.

For me the single overarching goal of human space flight is the human settlement of the solar system, and eventually beyond. I can think of no lesser purpose sufficient to justify the difficulty of the enterprise, and no greater purpose is possible.

— Michael Griffin, NASA Administrator, testimony before Congress, 2004.

We'll go into orbit. We'll go to the Moon. This business has no limits.

— Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic, reported in Wired magazine January 2005.

We will return to the Moon no later than 2020 and extend human presence across the Solar System and beyond.

— Dr Michael Griffin, NASA administrator, saying that four astronauts would be sent in a new space vehicle as part of a project projected at $104 billion, 19 September 2005.

There will be a new industry, and we are just now in the beginning. I will predict that in twelve or fifteen years there will be tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of people, that fly and see that black sky.

— Burt Rutan, regards space tourism market, 60 Minutes TV interview broadcast 1 January 2006.

One day . . . there will be more humans living off the Earth than on it.

— Michael Griffin, NASA administrator, Rolling Stone magazine, 23 February 2006.

Space tourism will be a significant portion of the overall travel and tourism industry over the next 20 to 25 years.

— Eric Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of Space Adventures, 21 March 2006.

Space travel will be like every other business. There will be competitors. . . . Thirty months from now, I'm confident we'll be flying people into space.

— Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic. Interview in Men's Journal, May 2006.

We hope to create thousands of astronauts over the next few years and bring alive their dream of seeing the majestic beauty of our planet from above, the stars in all their glory and the amazing sensations of weightlessness and space flight.

— Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic. Interview in adAstra, Fall 2006.

Freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power.

— introduction to the U.S. National Space Policy asserting the United States' right to deny access to outer space to anyone "hostile to U.S. interests", revision signed by President George W. Bush, October 2006.

During the next 50 years, in countless cycles, in countless entrepreneurial companies, this "let's just go and do it" mentality will help us finally get off the planet and irreversibly open the space frontier. The capital and tools are finally being placed into the hands of those willing to risk, willing to fail, willing to follow the dreams."

— Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, chairman of the X-Prize Foundation, 'The Next 50 Years In Space,' Aviation Week online, 14 March 2007.

I want to make rockets 100 times, if not 1,000 times better. The ultimate objective is to make humanity a multiplanet species. Thirty years from now, there'll be a base on the moon and on Mars, and people will be going back and forth on SpaceX rockets.

— Elon Musk, interview in Wired magazine, June 2007.

[The] goal of a space shock and awe strike is deter the enemy, not to provoke the enemy into combat.

— Col. Yuan Zelu, People's Liberation Army space warfare officer, revealing China's antisatellite capability, Aviation Week & Space Technology, 11 June 2007.

If we do our homework right, never again should an asteroid that can do damage on the ground impact the Earth. We're living in a time—with our technology—we have the capability to eliminate that major shaper of evolution . . . the evolution of life on this planet.

— Russell 'Rusty' Schwickart, former Apollo astronaut, chairman of the Association of Space Explorer's committee on Near Earth Objects, Ad Astra, Fall 2007

The next 15 years will see thousands of people leave the atmosphere on suborbital flights. My company's SS2 system might fly 100,000 people by 2024. If it is shown to be highly profitable, perhaps we will see 20,000 people traveling to orbit by 2035, and then thousands to the moon by 2050. If we make a courageous decision, like the program we kicked off for Apollo, we will see our grandchildren in outposts on other planets.

— Burt Rutan, in Popular Mechanics, September 2007.

Long-term, I see robotics prevailing on the moon. . . . The most important decision we'll have to make about space travel is whether to commit to a permanent human presence on Mars. Without it, we'll never be a true space-faring people.

— Buzz Aldrin (born Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr), in Popular Mechanics, September 2007.

Astronauts will remain the explorers, the pioneers—the first to go back to moon and on to Mars. But I think it's really important to make space space available to as many people as we can. It's going to be a while before we can launch people for less than $20 million a ticket. But that day is coming.

— Sally Ride, in Popular Mechanics, September 2007.

Before the current decade ends, fee-paying passengers will be experiencing suborbital flights aboard privately funded vehicles. . . . It won't be too long before bright young men and women set their eyes on careers in Earth orbit and say: "I want to work 200 kilometers from home—straight up!"

— Arthur C. Clarke, in Popular Mechanics, September 2007.

For the past 50 years, everyday people have thought they would be able to go into space within the next 10 to 20 years. And for 50 years, people have been wrong. . . . One hundred years from now, I think we will have seen the first children born in space, I think we will have colonies on both the moon and Mars, and I expect to see some sort of mining operation dealing with asteroids, as well as a much larger scientific exploration regime to the outer solar system.

— Tony De Tora, executive director of the Space Frontier Foundation, 2008.

I did grow up watching Buck Rogers and Buck Rogers didn—t stop at Mars. In my lifetime, I will be incredibly disappointed if we have not at least reached Mars.

— Charles Bolden Jr., NASA Administrator, AP interview, 21 July 2009.

For decades, people have known the chemical-propulsion approach to space travel is really not going to get us that far. Chemical propulsion is essentially like the horse-and-cart approach to the exploration of the American West, instead of the steamboat or the railroad.

— Franklin Chang-Diaz, explaining to Aviation Week & Space Technology why the Ad Adstra Rocket Company's variable specific impulse magnetoplasma rocket is the future of space travel. It would allow for 39-day human transits from Earth to Mars. 10 August 2009.

By 2025 we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first ever crewed missions beyond the Moon into deep space. So we'll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history. By the mid-2030s I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth. And a landing on Mars will follow and I expect to be around in see it.

— President Barack Obama, Cape Canaveral, Florida. Speech outlining his administration's space policy, 15 April 2010.

‎The genesis of life is as inevitable as the formation of atoms .... Life exists on other planets and we will find it within 20 years.

— Andrei Finkelstein, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Applied Astronomy Institute, reported by Interfax news agency. 27 June 2011.

‎‎I don't think the stories of science fiction we read in childhood are ever going to happen. People won't be rocketing around the solar system. . . People are fragile, and we cry when they die. Robots are fragile, but we don't cry when they die.

— John Mather, Nobel laureate and senior project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope. Discover magazine, September 2011.

My parents are going to be excited. They know this has been a lifelong goal. My brothers, as they always do, will give me a hard time.

— Tyler Hague, regards becoming a NASA astronaut, 17 June 2013.

We will eventually build space science labs and hotels, prodding the capability for missions beyond the orbit of the Earth. Our space-hotel guests will be able to take breath-taking excursions, flying a couple of hundred feet above the Moon’s surface in small two-man spaceships. In time, we will launch missions to Mars and beyond.

— Richard Branson, Virgin Galatic, discussing his ‘second-generation’ plan, The Economist magazine, December 2013

 

All civilizations become either spacefaring or extinct.

— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, 1994.

 

Eyes Turned Skyward: Space Quotes

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