Wired 11.04: How Hydrogen Can Save America (and gee, perhaps the rest of the world).

President Kennedy understood that dominating space could mean the difference between a country able to defend itself and one at the mercy of its rivals. In a May 1961 address to Congress, he unveiled Apollo - a 10-year program of federal subsidies aimed at "landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth." The president announced the goal, Congress appropriated the funds, scientists and engineers put their noses to the launchpad, and - lo and behold - Neil Armstrong stepped on the lunar surface eight years later.

The country now faces a similarly dire threat: reliance on foreign oil. Just as President Kennedy responded to Soviet space superiority with a bold commitment, President Bush must respond to the clout of foreign oil by making energy independence a national priority. The president acknowledged as much by touting hydrogen fuel cells in January's State of the Union address. But the $1.2 billion he proposed is a pittance compared to what's needed. Only an Apollo-style effort to replace hydrocarbons with hydrogen can liberate the US to act as a world leader rather than a slave to its appetite for petroleum.


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