Return to the Moon: International Acheivements

As like many fellow explorers of the cosmos, news of the US government reducing funding for the NASA space programs was dismaying to say the least. Growing up in this industrial era, I never would have thought it would happen.  But now that it has, what’s next? Is the idea of ever returning to the moon now a distant dream no human will ever again achieve?  Why is it that America, who involve international agencies in developing space exploration projects, decides for us as a species whether or not we can go out to the moon again?

I was always interested in the Apollo missions, to me it is the testament to space exploration; to what humans can achieve, raising the limits and boundaries nature has set upon us.  Growing up, I always knew about the space race, and Canada’s involvement in America’s continued space programs, but I never knew many details about the competition,  and what the missions’ objectives really were.  With a renewed sense of wonder, and with a better understanding as an adult, I discovered new missions; past missions I never knew about. And so I began to follow up, and catch up to what I’ve been missing. For you see, as a species, we never stopped going to the moon. Even though NASA may have had the rug pulled out from underneath them, it didn’t stop the international stage in exploring the moon, if anything it has made room for new explorers to challenge themselves and begin a new era in space exploration.

This gold aluminium cover was designed to protect the Voyager 1 and 2 “Sounds of Earth” gold-plated records from micrometeorite bombardment, but also serves a double purpose in providing the finder a key to playing the record.
The explanatory diagram appears on both the inner and outer surfaces of the cover, as the outer diagram will be eroded in time. Flying aboard Voyagers 1 and 2 are identical “golden” records, carrying the story of Earth far into deep space. The 12 inch gold-plated copper discs contain greetings in 60 languages, samples of music from different cultures and eras, and natural and man-made sounds from Earth. They also contain electronic information that an advanced technological civilization could convert into diagrams and photographs. Currently, both Voyager probes are sailing adrift in the black sea of interplanetary space, flying towards the outmost border of our solar system. – Wikimedia Commons, retrieved Sept. 4, 2012.

Up until today, several missions have been completed by China, India, Japan, the European Union, America, and Russia.  They have sent probes to impact the moon, satellites to scan for water, and satellites to map out the moon with a resolution that can visibly capture the foot prints left behind by the late Neil Armstrong. And while America has taken a step back due to financial constraints, internationally humans are still planning on manning the moon.  With the current financial climate shifting, we may yet see Russia, China, India and even Iran manning the moon in the not too distant future, while NASA refocuses their efforts on Mars.  And while all this is happening, corporations are stepping in as well, with NASA’s involvement no doubt, to provide launch vehicles for multi-purpose use like supplying the ISS and for leisure. SpaceX with their recent successful supply mission, is only the first step into a new industry involving corporate interests with space exploration.

My renewed interest in this field has lead me to become more aware of what is going on with space exploration. Ultimately I intend to gather more information presented by international efforts, and in so doing provide a more hopeful picture of what is to come.

Related ]

List of Space Agencies

List of Current & Future Lunar Missions

Space Page