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Return to the Moon

It has been nearly 25 years since a human last walked on the surface of the Moon. By 1970, the Apollo space program had met President Kennedy's challenge to make it to the Moon "before this decade is out." And in so doing, Apollo accomplished in its unstated goal of beating the Soviet Union to the Moon. The remaining Apollo missions gave us tantalizing first-hand knowledge of the Moon's geography. However, the Apollo program left America without a compelling reason to stay there. Our space program changed directions and soon began experiencing a series of budget cuts that continue to this day.

Since that time a considerable amount of research has been done on how humans could survive on the Moon; for instance, prototypes of machines that can produce oxygen from lunar soil. Furthermore, a vast resource of water ice has been identified by the Clementine spacecraft in a permanently-shadowed crater at the lunar South Pole.

Nonetheless, a return to the Moon remains a method in search of a motive. The amazing potential of astronomical observatories on the Moon (particularly on the Farside) is one strong reason. Of course, the Moon would be a fantastic springboard for further space development, and one might this to be reason enough.

In true pioneering spirit, a group called the Artemis Society has begun a program to establish a base on the Moon indepedently of NASA.

  1. The Artemis Project
  2. Lunar Development Documents
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