It’s about time that we went back to the moon.
It’s less than 400 000 kms away; we see it most nights (and sometimes during the day). And there’s still lots that we don’t know about it.
China and the United States of America are both currently planning separate returns to the moon. And, although both countries will be spending billions of dollars to fund the space project, I think that it is money very well spent.
Since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon in July 1969, only ten more people have ever set foot on its surface. The moon is an enormous place and there’s lots of regions of the moon that have yet to be explored by astronauts or robots.
By exploring the moon, it will give scientists and astronomers a greater understanding of the origins of the universe, and of the moon itself. The moon is not simply a dry dusty satellite. It’s not made of cheese. For example, no one quite knows how the moon got there in the first place. And if we know about the origins of the moon – and where it came from – it will tell us more about our own planet.
It’s important that we know more about ourselves, know more about our planet, and know more about the solar system. There are a lot of unanswered questions, and in order to satisfy our curiosity we need to explore places like the moon – and beyond.
Some might say, “But haven’t we already been to the moon? Surely we should be going to Mars or even further…”
Mars is a long way away. You may have read about the one-way mission to Mars currently being planned. And, with our current levels of technology, we have no way of travelling with astronauts any further. Many unmanned or robot space craft have travelled beyond our solar system but no humans.
The moon is close enough to explore relatively easily and cheaply. There’s a high chance of returning astronauts and scientific information and samples safely to earth to be examined in detail.
Humans are ‘built’ for exploring. And ‘built’ to find things out. From earliest human history until now, we have been exploring and discovering – and space is next. No one on earth is hungrier or poorer simply because of the money invested over the years in space exploration; and certainly we are better educated because of it.
Isn’t it about time we went back?
Article written by Ben Egerton
Critical Thinking Challenges:
Answer the final question: isn’t it about time we went back?
Remember to give your reasons to support your answer to this question.
1. Research into the other ten people astronauts who’ve landed on the moon. Who are they? Why haven’t we heard about them? Choose one of the ten and write a profile – with pictures and details.
2. Imagine that you were going to the moon. Write a short story or poem from a first-person perspective (I am…) about travelling there. Why are you going? What’s your mission? What do you hope to achieve? What are your fears? Who are you leaving behind?
3. Visit the NASA website (http://www.nasa.gov) for information, film clips, amazing space photography and information about the moon landings.
4. Look up ‘The Jetsons’ on YouTube and watch a couple of the cartoons. What do you imagine the near future to look like? What predictions about technology and where we’ll be living in the solar system could you reasonably make?