Last December, an American milestone passed virtually unnoticed. Forty years earlier, Harrison Schmitt became the 12th and last person to walk on the moon. Mr. Schmitt and the 11 men who preceded him — beginning with Neil Armstrong in 1969 — had this in common: All were employees of the United States government.
Some have argued that sending men to the moon may not have been the most prudent use of American resources or ingenuity. But the realization of President John F. Kennedy‘s dream of a U.S. moon walk before the end of the 1960s became a symbol of the scientific and imaginative leadership of this country and what Kennedy termed our “freedom doctrine” during the Cold War.
Now, the United States has an opportunity, even an obligation, to mobilize its resources and knowhow to achieve a more practical, and pressing, end. Increasingly under siege by destructive and deadly weather events — wrought, many scientists believe, by man-made climate change — we need to make a national commitment to weather research, including the fields of geo-engineering, weather modification and storm mitigation.