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Sci & Tech

Return to the moon: Why are we restarting human lunar exploration now?

NASA and SpaceX are among the many key gamers main a surge of missions to the moon, together with crewed ones. Right here’s what’s particular about this second – and why it’s occurring


13 September 2022


As I take man’s final step from the floor, again dwelling for a while to return – however we imagine not too lengthy into the longer term – I’d like to simply say what I imagine historical past will file: that America’s problem of immediately has cast man’s future of tomorrow.” These have been a number of the final phrases spoken on the moon as NASA astronaut Eugene (Gene) Cernan climbed the ladder again into his lunar module in 1972.

Opposite to Cernan’s hopes, nobody has since set foot on the lonely, cratered world that orbits our personal. However that’s about to vary, as a result of the US is planning to ship folks again to the moon by 2025 and arrange a everlasting base there. Add to that the plans of China and different nations, to not point out the deluge of robotic missions, and it’s clear that we’re getting into a brand new period of lunar exploration. The query is, after so a few years, why now?

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The choice to finish the Apollo programme was made nicely earlier than Cernan left his footprints on the moon. “Apollo didn’t finish as a result of it was too costly or as a result of it was unsustainable – the sunk prices have been already sunk,” says Mary Lynne Dittmar, an influential determine in area coverage on the agency Axiom House. The adventures ended as a result of Apollo was set as much as win a politically …

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