NASA plans to send a manned spacecraft to the moon by 2024. This will be the dawn of their ‘Moon to Mars’ Project, where the Moon will be permanently populated and become the spring board for a manned expedition to Mars. It’s good to see such staggering ambition in space exploration, after decades without the print of a space boot on the surface of another world.
It’s an astonishing 50 years this month since Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong and ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, landed on the moon on 20 July 1969. It’s a mere 46 years since the last team; Eugene Cernan and ‘Jack’ Schmitt of Apollo 17 walked the moon. See Cernan’s story – https://kentracey.co.uk/articles-bio-2/
Time travellers like me can be back to that Sunday night in 1969 a lot quicker than Armstrong took to take his small step. I remember tracking Apollo’s journey over 4 days, to find that the moon walks, to be shown live on TV, were timed to suit American viewers and not us. This meant dragging our black and white TV into the bedroom, and after setting it up, losing a night’s sleep, so I could tell you and my grandchildren about it half a century later. (Hi, put Minecraft down and read this.) Well, I did see it as it actually happened, with only the time delay that the signal took to travel from the moon to my aerial in South Liverpool.
The slow progress and the primeval TV pictures sharpened our attention. On the Moon, caution was paramount, we’d been warned that our Luna walkers needed to be careful not to fall and damage their life support suits. Armstrong appeared florescent white when the sun shone on his suit as he clung to the module’s access ladder. Cautious steps took ages to lower him to the surface. By the time he got there, my eyes were full of moon dust and sleep had taken me, so I missed the historic words. Not that we expected them, the script had been kept secret. I was bleary eyed at work on the Monday morning when I could marvel at the words- ‘That’s one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind.’
So, prepare for the 2024 landings; book the next day off work, and hang on to the astronaut’s name and words. You may be writing an article about it in 2074!