: With Artemis mission ready, Pete Conrad’s widow says Congress must fund STEM, next-gen astronauts


As we look forward to the launch window Nov. 16 for the Artemis 1 mission and the return to Earth’s Moon, I cannot help but reflect on the alignment to the launch of Apollo 12, the second lunar landing on the Moon back in November of 1969.

Read:When is NASA’s Artemis 1 launch, and where to watch the lunar mission take off

Over 50 years ago, my late husband, Pete Conrad, was the third man to walk on the Moon. It was a time of magic. In 1969, Pete and his two best friends strapped in for their ultimate adventure aboard a Saturn 5 rocket to launch for their journey to their landing site, the Ocean of Storms on the Moon.

Of the nearly 8 billion people living on this planet, only 12 have seen the Earth from the surface of its Moon. Without exception, all who walked on the Moon commented that the Earth looks like a fragile, beautiful blue and white marble suspended in a black velvet sky. And all of them have commented that there are no borders or boundaries. 

The Earth Pete saw from the Moon over half a century ago has changed, and the internet has connected all of us. Now a click away from each other, we are a global community invited to open our minds to see the world as the astronauts did. A world without borders. 

The revolutionary climate we are experiencing right now is mind-boggling with the internet of things, AI, VR, drones, gene editing, electronic medicine, autonomous vehicles, new sources of clean energy
next-generation rockets, a trip to the Moon, a journey to Mars, and so much more.

As the next generation of explorers embarks on their own Moonshot, their journey will be influenced by their unique ability to truly understand the impact of a vision of a world without borders and a real opportunity for international collaboration. What lies ahead? I believe it will be an excellent adventure because, like Pete, we are in a new time of magic. 

Congress must allocate funding to create relevant systems of learning. If we are going to succeed in creating a diverse workforce for space, with engineers, astronauts, and scientists, then it’s imperative that we create better STEM education and better STEM educators.

Let’s work together as we seek new crew members for the next great Moon mission exploring space and sustaining spaceship Earth. 

Nancy Conrad is the wife of late astronaut Pete Conrad, the third man to walk on the Moon during the Apollo 12 mission. She is chair of the Conrad Foundation. 

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