A Captain in U.S. Navy, Charles "Pete" Conrad flew on Gemini 5, Gemini 11, Apollo 12,
and Skylab 2, accumulating more than 1,170 hours of space flight. He died from injuries sustained
in a motorcycle accident in July 1999.
On Apollo 12:
"It may have been small for Neil but it was a big one for a little fella
Well, nobody remembers the second and that was why I said what I said.
It was based on a bet I had with somebody who felt that Neil's words had been
propaganda and not written by him. And I tried to assure this person that that
wasn't the case. And so it was in August of '69 before the fight when I made
this bet: that I would say something that they would know that the United
States government wasn't Big Brother telling us what to say. So I said, "It may
have been small for Neil but it was a big one for a little fella like me" and
it came out close to that. And I was right, nobody remembers what the second
person said anyhow. And the only bad thing was the person that I made the bet
with didn't pay off.
On Returning to the Moon: "It's not until we get into the commercial world where space begins to pay for
itself that you're going to see these things go on."
Well, I think that we can't ignore our energy problems down here and
helium 3 is in great demand up there. There are all kinds of things I'm sure
that people can think of that, when we bring the costs of getting into orbit
and being able to go to the moon on a relatively economical basis, you can make
it pay, it will be a commercial reason. Everybody forgets old Christopher
Columbus didn't sail across the Atlantic for the good of all mankind. He sailed
across to make a buck, and he was supported by a government that wanted to make
a buck. And so it's not until we get into the commercial world where space
begins to pay for itself that you're going to see these things go on. I don't
believe taxpayers' dollars should pay for us to go back to the moon now. I do
believe taxpayers' dollars should pay for things like going on to Mars and Mars
exploration and all that sort of stuff. But we've got to get the commercial
world really going and bring those costs of getting into orbit down. And really
begin to use space and what you can gain from it in an economical manner.