Nations aim to build spacecraft that can land astronauts on the Moon and return them safely, as well as explore more about this distant destination in order to make it suitable for human settlement and exploration.
The Space Race
After 50 years since Sputnik was launched, humanity is poised to break out of low Earth orbit again. NASA’s 2025 Artemis mission seeks to return astronauts back to the moon and eventually Mars using an upgraded spacecraft designed for longer trips compared to Apollo modules; plus it will welcome women and people of color for the first time!
“Evil Ed,” an Apollo-era robot responsible for landings, misbehaved on its final descent onto the lunar surface and Armstrong had to intervene manually to prevent it from hitting a boulder-filled crater. This advanced landing system represents a vast improvement.
The new spacecraft will be propelled by an enormous engine that uses liquid hydrogen and oxygen fuel cells to generate 33 million newtons of thrust. Its first stage, known as an engine of destruction, can consume 18,000 kilograms of fuel per second to propel it into orbit and deliver it safely before its other stages are activated.
The Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was created to carry astronauts on missions and conduct complex experiments while setting new standards for human exploration of outer space. Between 1981 and 2011, 135 shuttle missions were performed – including Apollo 11’s journey that landed astronauts on the Moon.
Chang’e 1 spacecraft expanded China’s space capabilities and created a topographic map of the Moon; Kaguya probe and its twin satellites mapped lunar composition and Moon-Earth environment, while GRAIL (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Explorer) was placed into lunar orbit and produced some of the most precise gravity field maps ever obtained from space.
Astronomers and academics observing space debris believe the object scheduled to hit the Moon March 4 is likely an upper stage booster from China’s Chang’e-5 T1 mission, despite statements suggesting it had already returned into Earth’s atmosphere. If so, scientists could gain a better understanding of radiation environments human crews would encounter when venturing beyond low Earth orbit.
The International Space Station
NASA’s Artemis program will use the International Space Station as a springboard for sending back astronauts and women back to the moon, and to conduct long-duration research into how microgravity affects living organisms, such as humans, as well as test technologies necessary for human spaceflight.
At some point, the station will reach the end of its lifespan, as extreme heat, cold, and micrometeorite debris become too much to bear. By 2031, it will have been de-orbited and returned back through Earth’s atmosphere and into the ocean.
Private companies such as Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX are developing next-generation stations they hope can use to place people into orbit. If these projects prove successful, they could mark a new era of international cooperation within space exploration; one where global politics play an even larger role – something which would impact how far we explore the solar system.
The Moon Landing
Since its first landing, the Moon Landing has been at the centre of much debate. Many have claimed it to have been faked due to photographic anomalies or confusion over Nasa equipment and lunar physics.
One such claim concerns the Van Allen belts – giant doughnut-shaped zones surrounding Earth that contain lethal radiation levels – where some speculate astronauts could have been exposed to harmful doses during passage through. Nasa recognized this risk and equipped their spacecraft accordingly with insulation.
At 4:17 pm, Armstrong radioed Houston with news that The Eagle had landed. For about one minute after landing, Armstrong moved the spacecraft using its reaction control system until suddenly its descent rocket engine shut off and on reaching the surface, they found an expanse of smooth lunar soil and collected samples before returning to their CSM and docking it back onto its docking port.