NASA scientists and space experts around the world are talking about returning to the moon within the next decade. It’s been nearly 49-years since that first ‘giant leap for mankind.’
CGTN’s Harry Horton reports.
Half of NASA’s estimated nearly $20 billion budget is designated for space exploration.
This week, scientists from America and Europe met in Washington D.C. to discuss how and when future missions to the moon will happen. If NASA is to send astronauts to the moon again, then the people at this policy meeting will probably have some involvement.
Scientists say only a fraction of the moon’s surface has been explored, and robots and telescopes can only learn so much.
“We can say, ok, here’s something I want to do on the moon, and we can design an instrument to do that,” Carle Pieters, a moon geologist at Brown University, said. “But this has been demonstrated with Apollo over and over again – having a human on the moon finds new things that you didn’t design for.”
Harrison Schmitt is the last living human to walk on the moon, and inspiring a new generation. He believes it’s America which must lead the way in a crowded international space field.
“It’s primarily important for the United States and the free world that NASA returns to the moon because of the international competition in space. The forces of freedom need to be there and be competitive,” Schmitt, an Apollo 17 astronaut, said.
Private companies such as Space X have opened up space travel, and NASA plans to work with them and other countries in the future.