Synthesis question: the moon landing

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Suggested reading time: 10 minutes.

Suggested writing time: Due at the end of the period.


Ann Rand’s interpretation of the moon landing reflects her belief in the power of rationality and the importance of individual rights and effort. She writes as an insider who was at NASA during the historic launch. Her language is highly charged (e.g., “such a sweep of dark red fire,” “an upturned candle with its flame directed at the earth,” “this cataclysm was planned, unleashed, and controlled by man.” Her purpose is not to be objective; quite the contrary, she interprets the is event to readers of her publication (which means they are already believers in her philosophy) as evidence of the philosophy of objectivism: “We had seen an achievement of man in his capacity as a rational being—an achievement of reason, of logic, of mathematics, of total dedication to the absolutism of reality.”

Rand states; “The fundamental significance of Apollo 11’s triumph is not political; it is philosophical; specifically, moral-epistemological.”

Ayn Rand concluded her article, “In the sight an hearing of a crumbling world, Apollo 11 enacted the story of an audacious purpose, its execution, its triumph, and the means that achieved it—the story and the demonstration of man’s highest potential.”


Reread the sources. Then, in an essay that synthesizes at least three sources for support, write an essay agreeing or disagreeing with Rand. Be sure to use quotes from Rand’s article itself, and from at least two other sources.

Draw from the other three sources given in the book and your own article.

You may write from the perspective of the times, or from ours.

Source A (Rand)

Source B (The Times of London)

Source C (Safire)

Source D (Herblock)

Source E (___________)

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