Returning to the Moon

Trump recently announced that the United States will return to the moon:

President Donald Trump signed his administration’s first space policy directive yesterday (Dec. 11), which formally directs NASA to focus on returning humans to the moon.

But the question remains, how will the United States return to the moon without Nazi scientists?

I thought it would be fun to use this announcement to segue into an interesting footnote in history. The interesting parts of history are too often skipped over in school so while most people are familiar with the early space program many people are unaware that the space program received a significant boost from Operation Paperclip. Operation Paperclip was a secret United States program to recruit Nazi scientists after World War II. There was a brain race at the end of the war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Both sides wanted to claim as many Nazi scientists as possible. Many of those claimed by the United States worked in rocketry and aeronautics and they found their way into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

This interesting tidbit of history has lead to some fun jokes. For example, Sputnik is often referred to the time where, “Their Nazi scientists outdid our Nazi scientists.” It also lead to some embarrassing situations such as the Strughold Award, an award named after the pioneer of space medicine that was the highest award that could be granted by the Space Medicine Association, being retired when the Wall Street Journal unveiled that Strughold was a Nazi scientist.