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The Race (Back) to the Moon

Exploring the Past, Present, and Future of Lunar Missions

July 2023

Script

On July 20, 1969, man finally set foot on the moon. It took nine years and over $21 billion of research and development.i

For a while, it seemed like Americans just couldn’t get enough of the moon. NASA spent the equivalent of $257 billionii on 14 lunar missions.iii And eventually a dozen Americans walked on the lunar surface.iv

And then … we just stopped.

No human has set foot on the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.v In fact, 65% of Americans living today were born after our last lunar mission.vi

But after years of overlooking the moon, it seems like the tide is beginning to turn. By one estimate, there are over 100 missions to the moon planned over the next decade.vii

NASA is set to launch a series of lunar missions in 2024. If things go according to plan, astronauts will again walk on the moon by 2026.viii

Russia and China both say they also have plans to send men to the moon by 2030,ix though both missions have been frequently rescheduled, and likely will be again.x

India and Mexico are both planning to send rovers to the moon in the next few years,xi as are a number of private companies.xii

What do these missions hope to accomplish?

SpaceX wants to take tourists around the moon.xiii China and Russia want to build a lunar base.xiv And NASA plans to conduct research that can help with the next round of human space exploration on Mars.xv

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  1. The first astronauts set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, after nine years and over $21 billion of research and development.
  2. No human has set foot on the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
  3. By one estimate, there are over 100 missions to the moon planned over the next decade.

Source(s)

Shownotes

SOUND: "Flight" (Kevin Graham)

FOOTAGE: Casper Benson (Getty) // CITED SOURCES AND NEWS OUTLETS ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH AND HAVE NOT ENDORSED OR SPONSORED ANY PORTION OF THIS PRODUCTION.

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