NASA's Apollo programme was one of the most challenging technological achievements in the 20th century. Beyond the space race and exploration, it contributed to several inventions and innovations that are still having an impact on our lives. But at the same time, there are several myths regarding what technologies actually came out of it.
Today, our reasons for returning to the Moon are even stronger than they were fifty years ago. Going back to the Moon isn’t a symbolic effort: we need an American presence there to keep us at the forefront of technological development, to identify and manage lunar resources, and to power our missions to Mars.
The poll by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, released Thursday, one month before the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, lists asteroid and comet monitoring as the No. 1 desired objective for the U.S. space program. About two-thirds of Americans call that very or extremely important, and about a combined 9 in 10 say it's at least moderately important.
American businesses will help NASA land astronauts on the Moon in five years and establish a sustainable presence there, as part of the agency's larger Moon to Mars exploration approach. NASA has selected 363 proposals from small businesses and research institutions across 41 states to help advance the types of capabilities needed for those future missions, as well as to support the agency in other areas.
Scientists studying the moon have made an unexpected discovery. While we have good data on the surface topography, there’s still a lot we don’t know about what lies beneath the craggy craters and dunes. A large crater in the southern polar region appears to contain a large deposit of dense material, possibly the remains of an ancient metallic asteroid.
An almost unlimited supply of electricity could be generated on the moon’s surface by huge arrays of solar cells and beamed to Earth by laser. Sunlight falling on a crater … could produce from 10,000 to 100,000 megawatts of power.
Under contracts valued at $253.5 million, NASA is funding three fast-track Moon landers in a programme intended to kick-start private-sector exploration and technology development, key elements in the space agency’s drive to return astronauts to the Moon’s surface in 2024.
The first humans to settle on the moon might need quake-proof housing. Moonquakes recorded during the Apollo missions have been linked to specific cracks on the lunar surface, suggesting that the moon is still tectonically active today.
It’s almost as if Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos knew what was coming: His Blue Origin space venture is among 11 companies selected by NASA to conduct studies and produce prototypes of spacecraft that could carry astronauts down to the moon’s south polar region and back up by 2024.
NASA revealed Monday that it needs an additional $1.6 billion in funding for fiscal year 2020 to stay on track for a human return to the Moon by 2024. The space agency's budget amendment comes in addition to the $21 billion the Trump administration asked Congress for in March. In a teleconference with reporters on Monday evening, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the budget amendment was a "down payment" on what will be needed in future years to fund the program.