40 years ago this week, the final Apollo mission, Apollo 17, launched to the Moon. In this new video produced by author Andrew Chaikin, geologist Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute explains why the Moon still beckons, “not just to visit, not just put a footprint there, but to go and understand it, to collect its rock and understand its history, to recover a lost chapter of a previous existence.” Right now, we understand just a small part of the history of our Solar System, and the Moon holds that history in its rocks. Additionally, newly found water on the Moon — estimates say about 600 million metric tons could be at the lunar poles — could allow us to “live off the land” in space.
A lunar mining facility harvests oxygen from the resource-rich volcanic soil of the eastern Mare Serenitatis. Credit: NASA/Pat Rawlings.