The Moon is our natural satellite and, furthermore, one of the reference points of both popular and scientific imagination. Interest in the Moon is not limited to the mere sphere of knowledge, but represents a turning point that would allow us to study space in greater depth than we have done until today. When thinking about the Moon, it is inevitable to also think about the Apollo program and in 1969, when, not without different setbacks and historical vicissitudes, humans finally stepped on the Moon, a true new world. From that moment, there were several occasions on which this episode was repeated, to fall, later, in an era of silence as far as possible manned lunar trips are concerned. If you want to know how many times has he gone to the moonAs well as knowing what projects are being launched to start a new golden age of space research, keep reading Green Ecologist and we will tell you about it.
When it comes to talking about stepping on the Moon, that is, sending manned missions to our natural satellite, it is essential to mention the Cold War and its historical context. After the Second World War (1939-1945) the world was divided into two great blocks. On the one hand, there was the communist bloc, led from Moscow by the Soviet Union. On the other, the capitalist-liberal bloc, led from Washington D.C. for the United States. These two blocks competed in every way possible and, the scientific-technological, was one of them. This led to start of the space race as we know it today.
Consequently, a long-distance race was started to see which of the two ideological blocks managed to conquer space before. In this sense, the Soviet Union managed to score several renowned victories, such as the putting into orbit of the first artificial satellite (Sputnik, in 1957), as well as sending the dog Laika into space that same year, which would allow the initiation of the studies related to the feasibility of sending human beings into space.
In this context of victories by the Soviet Union in the space race, the United States made the decision to tackle the most complicated challenge of all: taking human beings not only to space, but to the Moon and bringing them healthy and saved. And, with this objective, it is with which the Apollo program was developed.
The Apollo Program It was the name with which NASA baptized in 1960 the program that would bring together all the operations whose objective would be to finally bring human beings to the lunar surface. This goal was achieved almost a decade later, in 1969, when the Apollo 11 mission landed on our satellite and Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins succeeded in fulfilling the dream that human beings would finally set foot on a new world.
From there, trips to the Moon were repeated steadily in the context of what some have called the golden age of space exploration. Total the Moon has been visited by humans up to six times between the year 1969 and 1972. That year, astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt were the last humans to reach the surface of our satellite aboard Apollo 17.
Since then, the human being has not send manned missions to the moon. That does not mean that the Moon has been in the background of space exploration. There are many unmanned missions that have reached the lunar soil since then, and not just captained by the United States. In this sense, the space race has diversified and, currently, both the United States and Russia, as well as the European Union, Japan, China or India have ambitious programs aimed at the study of space and where, in fact, the Moon will play in the next decades a crucial role.
Although it is true that after the Apollo 17 mission the dream of traveling to the Moon was removed from the political agenda of many countries, currently there is a new interest in recovering this type of travel due to three main reasons. On the one hand, it is clear that the motivation to install a permanent colony on the Moon has grown in recent decades. It would constitute a new scientific-technological triumph of the human being, in addition to constituting a milestone in the history of humanity.
Likewise, another of the reasons that arouses the most interest when returning to the Moon and installing a permanent station there is that the Moon constitutes a Privileged starting point for possible trips to Mars. Thanks to the low gravity of the Moon, manned and unmanned spacecraft could take off much more easily than from Earth. For this, the refueling would be carried out from materials such as hydrogen or oxygen, which would be extracted directly from the lunar surface, greatly reducing the costs of missions to the Martian planet.
Finally, another of the motivations that should be mentioned when returning to the Moon and installing a permanent station is found on its hidden side. The hidden face of the Moon, beyond the interest that the place itself may arouse, represents a privileged place for the construction of telescopes. In this environment, without an atmosphere or artificial electromagnetic radiation, much more demanding space research projects could be carried out than on the Earth's surface or in space, so researching the universe itself is also one of the interests that raises , possibly by the middle of this century, we can attend new manned space trips stopping at the lunar surface.
Discover in the following article the importance of the Moon on Earth.
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