The Moon (05:07)
There has been a renewed interest in space programs going to the moon. The discovery of metal deposits and ice has opened the possibility to find new resources or build a colony. Though some countries have landed robotic probes since the last Apollo mission, private companies are leading the way for new manned missions.
Lunar Mapping (02:27)
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, is using high-resolution cameras to capture details of the moon's surfaces. LRO is providing new insights in the geological record of the solar system contained within the moon's surface.
Moon Resources (04:59)
In the 1960s, the United States Army had plans for a lunar base called Project Horizon. After the discovery of minerals by the Apollo 11 mission, the moon was seen as a resource for building space bases. Having the raw materials already in space would decrease the cost of sending them from Earth.
Moon Formation (06:56)
No water was found in the moon samples collected from the Apollo missions. The chemistry of the Earth and moon are similar, which has led to scientists believing they were once one planetary body that had water. The water could still be trapped within permanently shadowed areas on the moon.
Project Clementine (03:15)
NASA became part of the U.S. Military's Project Clementine to test to a targeting satellite. Communication signals were bounced off the moon's surface and were able to detect buried ice in the permanently shadowed areas. The discovery made the idea of living on the moon possible.
Lunar Debris (05:37)
NASA crashed part of the rocket transporting LRO into the moon, so the debris could be collected and studied to see if it had traces of water. A significant amount of water was discovered in the debris, which provides evidence that there is water at the moon's poles.
Lunar Water (03:42)
Water on the moon could open up exploration to other planets, because oxygen could be extracted from it. Hydrogen and oxygen can also be used as chemical propellants for rockets.
Cost of Space Travel (04:44)
Affordability is the next obstacle for returning to the moon and NASA has begun to work with commercial partners. Nine U.S. businesses are competing to have NASA buy flights to the moon from them. It is creating the basis for a space economy.
Access to Resources (03:00)
As more countries and private companies reach the moon, it raises ethical questions of who has control over the resources there. The United Nation's Outer Space Treaty creates the rules for working in space, but it has never been applied to space resources. The Lunar Gateway, which will allow short flights to the moon from a space station, will be part of a public-private partnership.
Private Space Exploration (01:50)
Some U.S. companies have promised commercial flights to the moon. SpaceX has sold tickets for the first tourist flight to space and Blue Origin has plans for a moon lander.
Moon Construction (04:19)
The goal of reaching the moon again is to establish lunar bases for people to live and work in for extended periods. A NASA team at the Kennedy Space Center is developing robots to build habitats on the moon. The low gravity on the moon forced the engineers to reinvent excavation equipment.
Moon Caves (05:55)
It is believed there are caves under the moon's surface created by lava tubes. The caves could be an alternative to building habitations on the moon.
Credits: Back to the Moon (00:21)
Credits: Back to the Moon
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