The Race to Space: The Battle Between Russia and the US Essay by JPWrite

The Race to Space: The Battle Between Russia and the US
An examination of the motivating factor behind the American and Soviet race to space.
# 67032 | 1,439 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2006 | US

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The paper explains that before landing on the moon, scientists feared that the astronauts manning a space craft might die and that there was a possibility of lunar microbes causing an epidemic if they found their way into the earth's biosphere. The writer explains that despite this great risk, the Soviets and Americans continued the race to space. The paper suggests reasons for this race to have continued and the writer posits that the only reason for doing so was for one of these nations to prove the dominance of their way of life over the other country's way of life. The writer states that the United States won the race to the moon, and also dominance of the planet, and that the Soviet Union broke apart while America prospered. In conclusion, the writer questions whether the exploration of space will wane without competition and posits that it may become a mission not of fostering competition between nations, but inspiring cooperation.

From the Paper:

"While the moon does not have anything to due with proving either of these ways of life superior to the other per se, the conquest of the moon was an important symbolic victory. There was a definite feeling that whoever managed to land on the moon first would prove to be the "superior" society. Astronaut Eugene Cernan clearly illustrates this anxiety to prove America's dominance of the Earth through space travel in his book The Last Man on the Moon. He starts his book recalling the occasion when he and two fellow astronauts were in the middle of testing a space craft when they were interrupted by an important phone call. Interruptions of these tests were rare since they were so difficult to set-up, so terminating the test must mean something very wrong had happened. One of the first thoughts Cernan remembers having when they were called out of their craft was "...maybe it was our worst nightmare come true, and the Russians were on their way to the Moon" (Cernan 5). That turned out not to be the case: in fact, the phone call was to inform them of the deaths of three other American astronauts in an electrical fire while testing another spacecraft. Cernan, of course, was devastated by the loss of his friends and colleagues, but nevertheless, he apparently viewed the idea of the Russians reaching the moon as his "worst nightmare." He writes that after the funerals, he worried that the American space program might be scrapped forever. "From this point on," he writes, "the dream of sending men into orbit and beyond would be viewed through the prism of the sacrifice demanded. It was a dangerous enterprise and we all now clearly understood what President Kennedy meant when he said our country had accepted this challenge not because it was easy, but because it was hard" (Cernan 13). Why, after such a tragedy, was Cernan's first fear that the Russians might beat the Americans to the moon? And why, after the funerals, did he and his fellow astronauts become even more determined to risk their lives for what was, for all practical purposes, a mostly symbolic victory? Risking so much to do something "because it was hard" really isn't a satisfactory answer."

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The Race to Space: The Battle Between Russia and the US (2006, June 26) Retrieved October 28, 2020, from

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"The Race to Space: The Battle Between Russia and the US" 26 June 2006. Web. 28 October. 2020. <>