"There is a moment in the film Apollo 13 when Tom Hanks, portraying astronaut Jim Lovell, surveys his crippled spacecraft, turns to his colleagues and says, "We just lost the Moon."
"Forty years after that space mission, the United States has done the same thing, only this time they didn't lose it by accident: the government has given up on missions to the Moon. In so doing, they have turned their back on the most important strategically placed object in the solar system and left it open for others.
"It's a situation that the first man on the Moon, Neil Armstrong, now 79, does not like. Not taken to self-promotion, there is no razzamatazz or commercial exploitation of his unique place in history. He keeps his own counsel and doesn't dance with the stars. Yet he, and 26 other heroes and legends of the US space effort, wrote an open letter to President Obama asking him to think again about the Moon decision. As well as Armstrong, it was signed by Jim Lovell and Fred Haise, the other surviving member of the crew of Apollo 13, Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon, Frank Borman, commander of the first crew ever to leave Earth-orbit, and many more."