What is the moonshot for our times?

Forty years ago today, three U.S. astronauts were launched into space on the Apollo 11 mission, which put a human being on the moon for the first time. It was a moment when the nation seemed united behind a common, innovative goal. Members of the Obama administration have suggested that we need that kind of approach to energy policy. What's your suggestion? What is the moonshot for our times?

The moonshot didn't just unite our country, it united the world. The most recent such experience, I fear, was 9/11. On that occasion I e-mailed to a friend that this event would herald a new era of civility in America. And I was right. For about two weeks. -Fred Marx, Minneapolis, MN

First, find a better name. The sixties moonshot gave the nation a common purpose but most of us were only spectators. Today we need a common goal which requires participation of everyone. I think the "Giant Leap for Mankind" in our day should be to create an internet database where inventors and thinkers could publish their technological ideas, to be shared as quickly as possible, so that we could have ever more minds working to push technology forward. Prize money and recognition should be awarded to those who contribute the best ideas. The database would keep track of who was first with particular ideas. -Thomas Johnson, Virginia, MN

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We really don't have one, we instead need to fix our infrastructure which is falling apart; create a single payer health care system and come to grips with global warming. This is much more significant than ANYTHING we do in space. -Robert Keegan, Coon Rapids, MN

So far, we don't have one. It should be to fund the research to develop technology and renewable, sustainable sources of energy to replace fossil fuel. We should be leading the way for the rest of the world. -Sharon Grimes, Minnetonka, MN

Better health care than Taiwan for as little money per capita. How ever will we, and our workers, compete with the top 20 economies of the world saddled by health care costs two or three times higher than the competition. The parasites who have gotten rich off the suffering of the American people must be cast off and we must embrace the lessons learned and applied around the world. We need only the common sense and the humility to move forward. -Harv Doucette, Brainerd, MN

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