The Dark Side of the Moon: Evaluating Criticism of NASA During the Space Race

Victoria Combs Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Paul Hanson Butler University
This research project challenges the American perception that the moon landing, as well as the space race generally, unilaterally benefitted the global society. In the United States, the moon landing is often celebrated as a feat in American innovation. However, in the 1960s, the space race was not universally celebrated. Many criticized the fact that both the United States and the USSR poured money and resources into developing advanced technology not only for space exploration but also to create technology that advanced nuclear weapons. Therefore, this research seeks to complicate popular memory of the space race by investigating criticisms put forth by civil rights groups and nonproliferation groups. Through looking at these criticisms, I argue that our present-day celebration of the space race has silenced a number of critiques of the program. With civil rights groups, I will examine protests that were staged to call attention to the amount of money that was being poured into NASA instead of being put to solve social problems in the United States. Furthermore, I discuss newspaper articles and interviews that demonstrate how leaders and participants in these movements argued against space exploration. I distinguish between these groups by exploring how civil rights groups make their argument on the basis on inequality and disparity and how nonproliferation groups make their argument about public safety. By looking into these concerns and criticisms, the present research explores critiques of the space race and challenges popular perceptions that are common in American society.
Oral Presentation

When & Where

02:15 PM
Jordan Hall 203