ALS signed “Jim Irwin,” two pages, 8 x 10.5, NASA letterhead, September 13, 1966. Letter to J. Duane Upton, in part: "I am honored to be able to express my opinions on our space efforts for the future. As you well know, the Apollo System will take us to the moon which will complete man's first venture to a heavenly body. This is just the beginning of a new era since the moon represents our stepping stone for further space exploration. The systems and techniques developed for the task will provide the foundation for future space flights to the planets and beyond. I believe the time is now to establish our next space goal—manned flight to Mars or Venus by 1980. The natural benefits of space technology are now being enjoyed by all. These accomplishments of today are the results of man's creative imagination. A new space goal will fire the imagination of all and continue to increase the many benefits from space exploration." In fine condition. Irwin's letter is remarkably forward-looking, establishing a goal of sending a man to Mars or Venus three years before one had even set foot on the moon. Wernher von Braun had conceived a plan for sending man to Mars as early as 1948, and it remains a hot topic today—however, no serious plan for a mission beyond the moon has yet been organized. As the Apollo 15 Lunar Module Pilot, Irwin would become the eighth man to set foot on the moon on July 31, 1971. From The Bill Lende Collection.
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