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Back to the moon
Posted by: McQ on Monday, March 06, 2006

I still find it hard to believe that after reaching the moon over 30 years ago, no one has been back (and everytime I see Apollo 13, I realize that they went to the moon with analog instrumentation ... yikes).

It now appears that the moon is again a target, this time of many national space programs:

Lunar missions planned by nations worldwide include:
China: A lunar orbiter is being prepared for launch in 2007 or 2008, followed by lunar-landing probes and, after 2017, landings by astronauts.

Europe: A probe, Smart-1, is circling the moon. The European Space Agency hopes to send landing probes to our sister orb in later years.

India: Chandrayaan-1, a robotic spaceship, is scheduled for launch in September 2007. Its goals include orbiting the moon to map its minerals and seek frozen-water deposits that might be consumed by future astronauts.

Japan: A robotic probe, SELENE (Selenological and Engineering Explorer) is slated to visit the moon later this decade. However, its timing is uncertain because of repeated launch delays and the Japanese space program's well-publicized technical problems of the past decade.

United States: NASA plans to launch its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in late 2008 as a prelude to President Bush's goal to send American astronauts back to the moon, perhaps as soon as the second half of the next decade.
Why go? Well, no one is quite sure:
Among many reasons, Foing said, is that the moon might contain relics of the origins of Earthly life. Billions of years ago, asteroid impacts on Earth could have splattered terrestrial crust onto the moon. That means that primeval fossils of Earth's earliest creatures might be scattered across the lunar terrain. For this reason, Foing jokingly calls the moon "Earth's attic."

Pieters of Brown University doesn't know what kinds of benefits — say, new types of energy sources or valuable elements that might be extracted more easily and cost-effectively than on Earth — might come from the moon. But she's confident benefits are there, only 240,000 miles from Earth.
Frankly a good enough reason to go is because it's there. There are many, however, who believe the survival and future of mankind rests in space exploration. A boyhood fantasy for me, if I were offered a one-way trip to Mars with no chance of ever returning, I think I'd probably say yes.

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see who gets to the moon first this time around ... and what they do once they get there.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

If there was oil on the moon, we’d make it back in record time...
Written By: Shaun Kenney
Shaun, I’m pretty sure your tongue is firmly planted in your cheek...but I’m equally sure there are people who truly believe what you said.

Even if there were 100 trillion barrels of oil on the moon, the cost of extracting it and transporting it would be incredible. To say nothing of the difficulty in bringing it down to the earth — it’s not like you can have a super tanker re-enter the atmosphere and splash down somewhere.
Written By: Steverino
Not if we used the Gitmo Slaves and all the other Muslims we are oppressing around the world, and I think that’s the plan, Chimpy McHaliburtonHitler and his cohort Dead-Eye Dick Cheney (This ones for YOU Scooter Libby) have optioned the oil on the Moon and were looking for a work force. AH-HAH the war WAS all about oil! I KNEW it!
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Even if there were 100 trillion barrels of oil on the moon, the cost of extracting it and transporting it would be incredible. To say nothing of the difficulty in bringing it down to the earth — it’s not like you can have a super tanker re-enter the atmosphere and splash down somewhere.

That’s where the space elevators come in...
Written By: shark
URL: http://
McQ, I’d join you on that one-way trip to Mars.

I think that if we are ever going to conquer the problems of a continual presence outside the Earth’s atmosphere, it’s going to have to be someplace more stable than a space station. The moon is an excellent place for that, with a minimal escape velocity/gravity well. If water ice is found, the possibility of a self-sustaining moon base increases geometrically.
Written By: Nathan
why delay just launch it already please!butt great thinking about it lol jk
Written By: jlo
URL: http://google search
things lke this canget veary commecal make shure you up date you r post evry common time somthing happens so we us watchers can hear see our what so yeah thans for seean me call me lol
Written By: jessica
URL: hppt//Goggle search

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