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50 Years Ago: Reaching for the Moon

Fantastic as it may sound, a question has arisen regarding the ownership of the moon. Sooner or later it was bound to happen in a world dedicated to the idol of private ownership.

On 27th November 1952, Nancy Spain writing in the Daily Express brings to our notice an American book, written by various authors entitled "Across the Space Frontier" (Sidgwick and Jackson, 21/-). One of the authors is Dr Wernher von Braun, co-designer of the V2 Rocket and now technical director of the Army Ordnance Guided Missile Development Group, Alabamba. We learn that a detailed plan has been drawn up for a Space Station and space travel. If the money were available and work put in hand at once it could be ready within 10 to 15 years. In fact, the American rocket engineers and scientists deem this project a number one priority. They say it is essential that the United States should be first in this field because a "less peacably-minded" nation may beat them to it. (According to the Editor, Cornelius Ryan, the Russians have admitted that their engineers are also working along these lines.)
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It is pointed out that great strides would be made in our knowledge of the stars, cosmic radiation and the structure of the earth, also that weather could be correctly predicted for months ahead. The emphasis, however, seems to be on the military value of the Space Station. It is said "In the hands of a ruthless power, no part of the earth would be safe from attack by guided missiles. No troop, air, or sea movements could be hidden from the all-seeing eye of the Station's telescopes".
(from an article by F.M.R., Socialist Standard, January 1953)