Back to the Moon
America is going back to the Moon; the first mission of this return is about to start extremely soon. If you ask about the hurry in the next Moon Mission, the experts point finger at China. China is also in the competition for the next moon mission.
Today we will talk about why every developed and technologically advanced nation wants to go to Moon again, and how this Moon mission is different from the one that was accomplished by the United States decades ago.
It was in 1971 when the first human walked on the Moon’s surface for the first time. Till 1972, total 12 people went to moon for research purposes. All these people were American citizens. America was the only country to send a human to the Moon. But after the first landing, America had to abandon its moon missions.
50 Years ago, when the last American astronauts left Moon, they were hopeful of America’s return to the Moon.
America’s step-back from the Moon
After this, America decreased its Human Space Exploration budget. Later in 1980’s, NASA started its Space shuttle program and Astronauts could only go to some hundreds of kilometers in space under this operation, they used to return from Earth’s lowest orbit.
But this program costed US a lot, billions of dollars were wasted in this mission and many Astronauts lost their lives too. Hence, NASA had to abandon this program too. It was in 2011 when US took its last flight of Space Shuttle Mission.
And it is not like USA never tried to go to Moon again, it was in 2004 when American president George Bush announced to go to Moon again. NASA started its Constellation program in 2005, its only objective was to send a human back to Moon by 2020.
But in 2008, the government changed and Barack Obama became the new President of the US, and Barack Obama’s government cancelled the Constellation program. Barack Obama’s new Space policy had the vision of seeing beyond the moon into deep space.
A new turn to this whole American Space scenario came in 2017, the government changed again and Donald Trump became the new president of the United States. After becoming the president, Donald Trump put forward his new space policy. He announced that the US will go to the moon once again.
After this announcement, NASA started its Artemis program and visioned to reach the Moon by 2025. But this time, the US is not going to the moon just to put the American flag there, its plan is to put humans there for a long time for research purpose. And they are in extreme hurry to accomplish this mission.
China; A top contender for a Space Power
Now the major reason for this hurry is; China. In the beginning of 2022, a document from China surfaced on the internet. The title of this Document was “China’s Space Program: A 2021 Perspective”. In this document, China’s government put forward its thoughts regarding space. Through this document, it could be understood that China wants to be a Space Power.
According to a study, China could overtake USA in Space Program by 2045. It must be remembered that in October 2003, China sent its citizen to Space, and became the third nation to send a human to space. Up to 2003, only US and Russia had achieved this milestone.
After this, China started making its grip in Space programs, China’s Lunar Exploration Program had gained many headlines, China sent many robotic missions to Moon’s surface. In 2013, China had sent its Lander and Rover to Moon successfully.
In 2019, China sent its spacecraft to moon’s far side, which made China the world’s only nation to have achieved this.
In 2020, China’s spacecraft returned to earth collecting samples from the moon, and in 2020 only, China sent its rover to planet Mars. Through all these missions, China is readying itself for a long space race. China is also aiming to make a lunar base in the moon by 2030. Earlier, China and Russia alone were working on this mission, but now China is looking for more partners to work with.
China’s Lunar Exploration Program can be a challenge to America’s Artemis Program. NASA’s chief Bill Nelson also see China as a major challenge for American space program.
In this new space race, there is not only one nation as a challenge for the US like it was in the 1960’s. Along with Russia and China, there are countries like India, Japan, and many other space powers as a challenge for the US. Apart from these, there are private companies too that are making their place.
Moon, the most important portal for Space-based economy
Space based economy is only getting bigger with time, many crucial research projects like military satellites, civilian satellites, and commercial services are part of this economy. For now, space-based economy operates within the borderline of hundreds of kilometers from the Earth. So, sustainable presence in the Moon would open new doors for this economy.
Our understanding of Moon’s surface and atmosphere has only increased in all these years. We have found water on the Moon; we have found minerals on the moon. Seeing all this possibility, a revolutionary space industry is being readied, this industry has humongous opportunities for business in space.
Space tourism, Mining of precious minerals from the Moon and Asteroids, and important research in deep space, all these opportunities are waiting to be explored. But whoever reaches the Moon first, it will get its hands on these opportunities first, and only that Country or organization will decide the new laws and regulations of space.
NASA or America do not want to lose this chance at any cost. And China and Russia on the other hand also do not want to leave any stone unturned to lead in the space race. So, it is going to be interesting to see who takes a lead in the Moon mission of this era.
What do you think who will reach the moon first this time? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!