Credit: ESA/NASA

 

Earth’s celestial neighbor in gravitational lock – the moon — is far from being a “been there, done that world.” The scientific study of the moon, by robots and humans, is a “barely scratched the surface” enterprise.

Yes, between 1969 and the close of 1972, a dozen American moonwalkers strutted their Apollo right stuff across stretches of desolate, crater-pocked landscape. But now, over 45 years later, there’s a rising tide of multiple nations casting their eyes on moon return, among them, Europe, China, Russia, Japan, and India.

Inside look at one idea the European Space Agency is exploring in its formulation of a “Moon Village” that incorporates 3D printing.
Credit: ESA/ Foster + Partners

Trump directive

Not to be left behind in the lunar dust, NASA’s 2019 budget proposal to be released in February may well scope out details about how the agency plans to realize a new President Trump directive to retarget humans to the moon.

On the table, a crew-tended spaceport in cislunar space called the Deep Space Gateway, or DSG, an astronaut crewed node to gain access to the lunar surface and one that serves as a stepping stone to further deep space exploits.

Notional Deep Space Gateway.
Credit: NASA

 

After almost a half-century hiatus, lunar missions are once again becoming the next big thing in space science and exploration.

For my new Scientific American story on future Moon exploration, go to:

Shooting for the Moon–This Time to Stay

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/shooting-for-the-moon-this-time-to-stay/

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