HOUSTON (FOX 26) — Rice University is part of one of most memorable moments in U.S. history.
Apollo 11 was the historic spacecraft that landed the first two Americans on the moon.
Almost everyone who was alive on July 20, 1969, can tell you exactly where they were when Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin touched down on the moon.
Former President John F. Kennedy would not live long enough to witness that moment, but he gave his famous 1962 “We choose to go the Moon” speech on the Rice campus.
Now there’s a plaque and a next generation moon tree commemorating Kennedy’s speech at Rice.
“In 2008, 2009, NASA made some significant discoveries, namely that there’s hundreds of millions of tons of water ice on the moon,” says NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, who graduated from Rice in 1998.
Bridenstine says President Donald Trump’s plan for NASA to be back and sustainable on the moon within the next five years is exciting news for NASA and Houston.
Not only will it be an economic boom for the Houston area, but Bridenstine also says there’s economic opportunities on the moon.
"We talk about what we’re capable of doing today that in the 1960s and '70s we had no opportunity to do,” says Bridenstine. "We think about how re-usable launch vehicles or dropping the cost to access to space and there’s markets out there for communications and remote sensing and other markets even tourism. Right now at NASA we are working on commercializing the moon so that we become a customer rather than the landlord.”