Forty years have already passed since the time the two Americans touched down gloriously on the moon and walked on its surface. Landing 12 people on the moon is still one of NASA greatest achievements, if not the greatest and the organisation is still proud of that very fact.
The lucky and competent astronauts took pictures, collected rocks and performed various experiments, they had put flags on the surface of the moon and then came back home. Whatever be the achievements during the Apollo program it failed to establish a lasting human presence on the moon.
But we still wonder if NASA did it gracefully in eight years between President John F. Kennedy’s historic 1961 speech that led to the first lunar landing of Apollo 11 on July 20 in the year 1969, then why it is so difficult to go back on the moon again. As we approach 2020 a long period of sixteen years would have been passed since NASA launched its new moon-bound vision in the year 2004.
At present the rockets and the space shuttles of NASA rockets and space shuttles are not capable enough of surpassing low-Earth orbit to reach the moon with the amount of gear that is needed for a manned expedition to the coveted moon.
What Jeff Hanley from Nasa have to say
In the words of Jeff Hanley who is NASA’s Constellation program manager; the amount of rocket energy that is required to accelerate those kinds of payloads away from Earth don’t really exist and it exited in the Apollo era with the Saturn V. From that time USA has retired that ability to send manned missions to the moon.
Although NASA is developing rockets namely Ares I and Ares V for a successful return trip to the moon and precisely this will be something larger and taller than what their counterparts Apollo-era Saturn were, most importantly they will be able to carry more weight as well.
The Constellation as it is known as plans to call for the two new rockets to surpass the Saturn vehicles in capability, but also to do it on a budget.
Apart from all of these challenges, the Constellation also has plans to go further than the moon. Most probably these kind of lunar voyages can be a preparation ground for humans for their journey to the mysterious planet Mars.
If you have kept a solid watch over the history of space exploration and missions to the moon, then you may begin to ascertain that there are 2 main reasons why NASA is still considering to return to the lunar surface.
To put it within the simplest terms, there merely hasn’t been enough cash or interest to place towards manned moon missions since 1972. The Phoebus, Apollo 17 mission preceded a significant oil crisis, that had several questioning the necessity to divert valuable funds and energy into space exploration.
Furthermore, interest had waned since the first moon landing. As landing on the moon had no real, practical applications or benefits. The mission to the moon failed to maintain public as well as political support too.
It was straightforward to rally round the dream of swinging a person on the moon once it had been part of an intense scientific and innovative race against the Soviet Union, but as the race to the space wound down thus too did widespread interest in going away from your own planet. At the peak of the Apollo missions, NASA received nearly 5 percent of the U.S. Federal budget. At present what it receives is just 0.4%.
Basically the progress needed to place a person on the moon within the initial place, paired with the big amounts of labor and capital, merely weren’t considered to be something which will reap benefits in the longer run.
Then why go back?
NASA still maintains there are many good reasons for going back to the moon again. In the presence of the fiscal challenges too as well as the tough times the organisation is facing it is very soon planning a moon mission to reap economic benefits and also to put a positive influence on the people of our society and because of these valuable reasons moon mission is still an important goal for NASA.
And who knows that when nobody has stepped foot on the moon for nearly fifty years, we would not need to be compelled to wait for much longer period before we tend to take another giant leap for the entire human race. All because of the efforts of the private firms and organisations , the governments doesn’t require to sacrifice massive percentages of their budgets for the sake of the satellite missions.
So there is definitely a sense of excitement which is beginning to bubble its way through the general public too, as companies race amongst themselves to see who will be the first to make their mark on the cosmos.
Away from the politically charged atmosphere of the race to the space, this new, corporate race to the space is presenting space exploration as a project necessary for the successful progression of mankind. And it doesn’t really matter as to who gets there initially , it would be a win for each one of us.
So after spending almost half of a century of wanting to reach the moon, the human race may walk on the surface yet again which is definitely something to look out for anxiously and excitedly.