We’ve already been to the moon.

It’s been a while, but we’ve been there. We know how it’s done, overcome numerous hinderances, developed state of the art technologies, and proven yet again our innate capacity to adapt to any environment. All we need to do now is take the lessons of the past, add current and emerging technologies, and establish ourselves permanently on the moon.

So how did we get there the first time?

It all began in August 1957…

The arms race between the USSR and US, the two superpowers of the time, that since the aftermath of WWII had slowly climbed to a feverish pitch, went from rocket missiles to space shuttle launches in the space of a decade. Military might and pride, as always, walked the global stage, motivating the development of the most sophisticated technologies ever known. Soon, sending rockets into space and in turn the moon, became a symbol of cultural and intellectual superiority to each side – divided not only by economic and political rivalry, but by a gaping chasm of ideological differences.

Tension was high, the world’s nuclear end was possibly nigh and the space race became a non-violent war for superiority.

In October 1957, the Soviets launched Sputnik 1, an artificial satellite that entered space and settled into orbit. Then on 17 August 1958, US attempted to launch Pioneer0, which experienced launch vehicle failure, reaching an altitude of 16km, before plummeting to the earth. Soon both countries were launching Luna probes, most of which failed. The USSR’s Lunar Impactor Luna 2 was the first to make it to the moon, plummeting to its surface in September 1959. Numerous failures followed, until late 1964 when the balance was tipped from predominant failures to one success after another.

Five years later, on July 21, 1969, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong exited Apollo 11 and it was “one small step for man…” A total of six manned Apollo missions from 1969 to 1972, Apollo 11 through to Apollo 17, put men on the moon – Apollo 13 due to systems failure unfortunately missed out, but through the efforts of NASA genius and the crew somehow managed to make it home.

By 1975 tension between the superpowers was easing, and a joint mission, Apollo-Soyuz Project, saw the a Russian and US spacecraft dock together in space, the astronauts reaching out from their respective ships for a super-symbolic handshake that significantly eased heart palpitations, but effectively ended the space race and any prospect of missions to the Moon.

We haven’t been back since.

Got some interesting info on Moon visits you’d like to share? Visit the Moon Visits Forum [LINK] and tell us about it. 

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