NASA / Wikimedia Commons Neil Armstrong in the only photo taken of him on the moon from the surface.

The Great Competition in Space

The political tensions in Europe during the decade following the end of World War II effectively sterilized scientific collaboration or interchange between the Soviet Union and the West. A retrospective judgment is that the Soviets were reluctant to expose the appalling conditions in their country to Western eyes until they could reveal at least the beginnings of a physical and intellectual restoration from the devastation caused by the German invasion. Conversely, only essential Soviet emissaries were allowed to visit the West, because of the fear of the effect of comparisons with Western standards of comfort and culture.

Although the international exchanges have subsequently achieved a degree of normality, they have been marked by continuing difficulties. Whatever may be held in some quarters to the contrary, it remains a sad fact that Soviet scientists are strictly limited in their ability to attend conferences or work for periods outside the Soviet Union. Today, the reasons for this appear to be various. In many cases it seems to be simply the same kind of economic reason which, in the end, inhibits the scientist of any country from complete freedom in this respect. The difference at this moment is that the economic rationing of foreign visits is far more severe for scientists in Russia than for those in the West. Regrettably, in other cases the restriction is fundamentally political. Until the end of the Khrushchev era there were many Soviet scientists of the greatest international distinction who were effectively prisoners in their country. Undoubtedly some were in danger and would have been lost to the Soviet Union if given freedom of travel. In the more important and interesting cases, however, the reason was more subtle, namely that many important Soviet scientists, like their colleagues in the West, served the state as well as their science-with the difference that the Soviets during a decade that was so vital to them would not take the slightest risk of compromise.

In any discussion of these problems of collaboration

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