NASA had Been Designing Lunar Bases for Decades Before Armstrong First Set Foot on the Moon

Moon base
Illustration of NASA astronauts on the lunar South Pole. Mission ideas we see today have at least some heritage from the early days of the Space Age. Credit: NASA

It’s only natural to look at the Moon and wonder what it would be like to live there. Thanks to Buzz Aldrin who landed there in 1969, we know it’s a magnificent desolation. Even before the Apollo missions science fiction writers and scientists knew how desolate the place was. But, as far back as the late 19th Century, they also saw it as a natural outpost. So did NASA, the former Soviet Union, and their respective militaries. And, that led to people on both sides drawing up elaborate plans for Moon bases.

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China’s Chang’e-5 Probe Is Off to Bring Back a Moon Sample — and NASA Hopes to See the Data

Chang'e-5 launch
China's Long March 5 rocket sends the Chang'e-5 probe on the first leg of its mission to the moon and back. (CNSA / CLEP Photo)

China’s Chang’e-5 probe is on its way to the Moon for a mission that could bring back the first samples of lunar rocks and dirt in more than 40 years.

The 8.2-metric-ton spacecraft was sent into space from south China’s Wenchang Space Launch Center at 4:30 a.m. local time November 24th (20:30 Universal Time November 23rd) atop a Long March 5 rocket.

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China’s Lander Successfully Grew Some Cotton Plants on the Moon. Fruit Flies and Potatoes Didn’t Fare So Well

A 3D reconstruction based on image processing and data analysis shows two cotton leaves grown in the Chang’e-4 lander on the far side of the moon. Image Credit: Chongqing University.

When China’s Chang’e-4 spacecraft landed on the lunar far side on January 3rd 2019, it made history. It was the first spacecraft to visit that part of the Moon, and among its payload was a 2.6 kg (5.7 lb) mini-biosphere called the Lunar Micro Ecosystem (LME).

The sealed, cylindrical biosphere is only 18 cm (7.1 in) long and 16 cm (6.3 in) in diameter. The LME carried six lifeforms, kept in mostly Earth-like conditions except for micro-gravity and lunar radiation.

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India’s Chandrayaan-2 is Heading to the Moon

India's Chandrayaan-2 launching to the Moon on July 22nd. Image Credit: ISRO

ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) has successfully launched their Chandrayaan-2 mission to the Moon. The mission, which includes an orbiter, a lander, and a rover, was launched into space on a GSLV Mk III rocket on July 22nd, after a week-long delay. On September 7th it will perform a soft-landing on the Moon.

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SpaceIL Scraps its Plans to go Back to the Moon. Instead, it’s Got a New Secret “Significant Objective” for Beresheet 2

Mystery. Secrecy. A Need-To-Know Basis. These are the hallmarks of science. Wait a minute: no they’re not. So what’s with all the mysterious secret objective talk from SpaceIL about Beresheet2?

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Weekly Space Hangout – Jan 24, 2018: Paul Hildebrandt’s “First to the Moon”

Hosts:
Fraser Cain (universetoday.com / @fcain)
Dr. Paul M. Sutter (pmsutter.com / @PaulMattSutter)
Dr. Kimberly Cartier (KimberlyCartier.org / @AstroKimCartier )
Dr. Morgan Rehnberg (MorganRehnberg.com / @MorganRehnberg & ChartYourWorld.org)

Special Guest:
Paul Hildebrandt (director of the film Fight for Space) joins us again to discuss his newest project, a documentary which is an historical piece about the mission of Apollo 8 and it’s crew, Borman, Anders, and Lovell. Titled First to the Moon, the film covers the biographies of each astronaut and goes on to tell the story of the Apollo 8 flight using new animations and newly found archival footage.

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