Objective Moon, episode 2
On 21 July 1969, the world watched in amazement as Armstrong and Aldrin took their first steps on the moon. Fifty years later, the moon is once again whetting appetites. It is being seen as a base for extra-terrestrial life, an outpost post for journeys to Mars, and as the first destination for a nascent space tourism industry. The moon continues to inspire us.
For its part, the European Space Agency (ESA) has signed a design contract with ArianeGroup for an exploration project before 2025, as part of a 100% European consortium. The purpose of this mission would, among other things, be to transport, using an Ariane 64, the equipment needed to study exploitation of mantle-rock, an ore from which water and oxygen can be extracted, allowing the possibility of an autonomous human presence on the moon, and the production of fuel.
Robotic exploration of the moon will also allow us to study its origin, structure, history and current state, and to deepen our research into the presence of water.
“We are going back to the moon, but we are not simply doing a re-make of Apollo, this time we are going there to stay.”
Jim Brindestine, NASA Administrator
Civil and commercial flights
In 2003, the successful sub-orbital flight of SpaceShipOne, the first private aircraft to reach an altitude of 100 kilometers – the internationally agreed space boundary – ushered in the era of space tourism. Since then, a race against the clock has taken place between several private operators, and seems to have accelerated in recent months.
Fifty years after the first step on the moon, humanity is taking another giant leap towards the departure of the first space tourists, to the moon in the near future and perhaps one day, to Mars.
Relive this historic event in real time on the special website created by NASA to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11: apolloinrealtime.org