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To The Moon

from TIME

Dueling Superpowers, Rival Billionaires. Inside the New Race to the Moon

By Jeffrey Kluger

It’s easier to love Apollo 11 if you were around to see it happen. For those who didn’t camp along the Cape Kennedy causeway to watch the Saturn 5 liftoff on July 16, 1969, or huddle around a rabbit-ear TV to watch Neil Armstrong climb down the ladder and walk on the surface of the moon four days later, it’ll always have a whiff of cable-channel documentary. And yet it doesn’t for Elon Musk.

Musk was born in 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa, two years after the Apollo 11 landing and half a world away from the country that achieved the great lunar feat. But somehow, he absorbed the primal power of the thing he was not there to see happen. “Apollo 11 was one of the most inspiring things in all of human history,” he said in a July 12 interview at the Hawthorne, Calif., headquarters of SpaceX, the rocket company he founded in 2002 that has since become its own icon of space exploration. “I’m not sure SpaceX would exist if not for Apollo 11.”

Today, SpaceX is one of a handful of powerful players—starry-eyed billionaires and the world’s two richest countries—competing in a race to set up shop on the moon. In the 1960s, it was a two-party sprint between the U.S. and the Soviet Union to be the first to get boots on the lunar surface, but this time around the U.S. finds itself in a bigger, multifront competition with private companies like SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and international powers, most critically China.

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Posted on July 18, 2019 by Editor

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