Moon fascinates humans again

Moon fascinates humans again


After a gap of decades Moon has again caught the imagination of humans

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(Web Desk) - Nasa which successfully landed the first Man in Moon in the history of the world is striving after decades to put humans again on the Moon in its Artemis programme.

America is not the only country having this craze for the moon again, many other countries are also now thinking of our celestial neighbour to land their spacecraft on it.

Between 1969 and 1972, there were 6 crewed landings on the moon. After 1972 however, interest waned, mainly due to the astronomical cost of billions of dollars required for the Apollo missions. Whilst the US government was willing to put a lot of mon

The moon landing was a political statement. At the height of the Cold War with sharp and opposing ideological differences between US and USSR, America determinedly won the space race.

Fifty years later, Nasa is launching Artemis programme named after the sister of Apollo in Greek mythology. Artemis III will be the first crewed lunar landing.

A change has taken place since the 1970s with growth of Space technology and today private players too have come into the picture ready to provide space flights.

Mars mission had been of more interest to humans for the past several years but suddenly interest has again come back to the Moon primarily because it is a close celestial neighbour where we have experience of landing humans.

But more importantly as a final testing ground before a crewed flight launch is taken up to the more arduous Mars.

Moon could appropriately serve as a base camp and refuelling station, as human takes flight to other distant planets.

The re-look at Moon is also supposed to spur many technological innovations at home like it did during the hey days of Apollo mission.

Another reason why Moon is of interest of late is due to the fact that evidence has been found that there of there being water on the surface of the moon.

Striking water could be of significant importance later for establishing a human colony on Moon as astronauts could then spend long periods on the Moon.

The European Space Agency consisting of about 22 European nations too is not to be left behind.

It has not only planned for a cargo spacecraft to fly to and from the International Space Station (ISS) by 2028. It also hopes that this would evolve later into crewed flights to Moon.

The Europeans also feel that a strong and independent means of launching payloads and even people is critical to Europe’s future prosperity.

Only five countries so far have demonstrated their capability of launching spacecraft and manoeuvring soft landings on the Moon – US, Russia, China, India and Japan.

Besides these there has been the first ever American private company Intuitive Machines to have successfully landed a spacecraft on the Moon on Feb 22, 2024.

One clear reason as to why nations are going to the Moon once again is because private and commercial players like Elon Musk of Space X and Intuitive Machines and others are taking over this sector as a novel area of entrepreneurship which could lead to newer strides in lunar exploration.

Private American companies are developing expertise in landing robotic payloads on the moon.

US company Astrobotic Technology is slated to launch Peregrine Mission One, a lunar lander that the company has designed and built through Nasa’s commercial lunar payload services programme.

There is tremendous global interest in humanity going back to the moon to explore and settle on the moon if required.

Japan landed its Smart Lander for Investigating the Moon, or SLIM, craft on the surface of the Moon in January this year.

For Japan, Moon landing had its significant political and technical value as it demonstrated Japanese skills in precision landing.

Japan was able to land its spacecraft using a vision based navigation system to land it within just 328 foot landing zone rather than the usual few kilometers wide landing area. The possibilities of applying this technology is huge.
The interest on Moon is to look for rare-earth metals and the isotope helium-3, which is abundant on the moon and required for future power nuclear fusion reactors.

China has plans to send its Chang’e-6 spacecraft to the far side of the moon in the first half of 2024 to retrieve samples from an ancient basin.

Tokyo-based ispace has said it would launch its second moon mission this year.

Nasa plans the launch of its lunar polar exploration rover VIPER in November. The Artemis taking humans to moon is being scheduled for 2026.

China plans to become the second country to land a manned mission on the moon by 2030.