“But ‘the’ Earth? Why a definite article? Clearly not to distinguish the Earth from an Earth—from one of those other Earths out there. No, I suspect the purpose of that word was to distance us, however subtly, from our preconceptions.”
—The Last Word On Nothing’s Richard Panek writes an appreciative meditation on president Kennedy’s use of a precedent “the” in referencing Earth in the speech he gave 50 years ago today calling for NASA to put a man on the moon. It was pretty important!