The first Step on the Moon. Why people don’t go today? (July 21, 1969) - History Key

The first Step on the Moon. Why people don’t go today? (July 21, 1969)

This day in history “a small step of a man and a one giant leap for mankind” was made. Neil Armstrong led the first lunar mission in history of mankind. At the board of Apollo 11 among with his crew (Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins,) he managed to land the capsule on the Moon. Therefore Neil Armstrong became the first person to step on the moon.

Three astronauts in spacesuits without helmets sitting in front of a large photo of the Moon
Three astronauts in spacesuits without helmets sitting in front of a large photo of the Moon © NASA/ Image Source: Wikipedia

After a total of 21 hours and 36 minutes spend on the Moon surface, the astronauts return to Earth and on July 24, 1969 they “landed” into the Pacific Ocean.

Recovery of Gemini 8 from the western Pacific Ocean; Armstrong sitting to the right
Recovery of Gemini 8 from the western Pacific Ocean; Armstrong sitting to the right © NASA/ Image Source: Wikipedia

Why these flights have not continued after 1972?

After Apollo 11, five other missions were made that successfully led people to the Moon. The last mission took place in December 1972. These 6 space-based flights over a four-year period are the only moments in which humanity reached another heavenly body.

We can say that the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 (he was the president that publicly announced that US will send people to the Moon) was without any doubt a true engine that propelled this project. However, Nixon decided in 1972 to stop this program, probably, because of the bill. US had to pay about 4-5% of the federal budget to NASA. Today, less than 0.5% are going there.

Apollo 11: Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, 1969
Apollo 11: Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, 1969 © user:Soerfm/ NASA/ Image Source: Wikipedia

Though, the benefits of these trips have been immense, the prospect that NASA will once again send a man to the Moon is small. The high cost of the Apollo program and the lack of direct motivation (like the Cold War arms race) make the idea of stepping back on the Moon to be removed.

There are voices talking about the “hidden” things of NASA and the federal government, the aspects found in these voyages: the existence of extraterrestrials, or someone else on the moon.

However, some rumors are that NASA is preparing not just a comeback on the Moon, but a program that will support life for a few people for several months. Although the term would be 2020, this is unlikely to happen precisely because of the low budged.

NASA's budget from 1958 to 2012 as a percentage of federal budget
NASA’s budget from 1958 to 2012 as a percentage of federal budget © user: 0x0077BE / CC0/ Image Source: Wikipedia

Private companies

Still, on the horizon there were all sorts of private initiatives ready to send not astronauts, but ordinary people near the moon. One of the best known is Excalibur Almaz, a company that benefits from the experience of Valeri Tokarev, a former Soviet cosmonaut who traveled twice in space.

Drawing of the Excalibur Almaz spacecraft – the service module (lower left) will be based on Astrium's ATV design according to Art Dula, the chairman of Excalibur Almaz
Drawing of the Excalibur Almaz spacecraft – the service module (lower left) will be based on Astrium’s ATV design according to Art Dula, the chairman of Excalibur Almaz © NASA/ Image Source: Wikipedia

Even so, the trip to the Moon will not be cheap, costing about $150 million per person according to Excalibur Almaz. Also, those who want to start the expedition to the Moon will attend a six month training course.

Who knows, probably we will see people on March earlier than on the Moon.

An artist's conception, from NASA, of an astronaut planting a US flag on Mars. A manned mission to Mars has been discussed as a possible NASA mission since the 1960s
An artist’s conception, from NASA, of an astronaut planting a US flag on Mars. A manned mission to Mars has been discussed as a possible NASA mission since the 1960s © Image Source: Wikipedia

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