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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1741
AUTHOR: John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917–63)
QUOTATION: Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said “Because it is there.” Well, space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there.
ATTRIBUTION: President JOHN F. KENNEDY, address on the nation’s space effort, Rice University, Houston, Texas, September 12, 1962.—Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1962, p. 668.

Mallory’s remark, “Because it’s there,” was reported in The New York Times, March 18, 1923, p. 11, during his visit to New York.
SUBJECTS: Space exploration