Returning to the moon

An astronaut on the moon saluting an American flag

Source: © Heritage Space/Heritage Images/Getty Images

It’s been a while, but space agencies are starting to plan their trips back to our satellite, with the goal of building semi-permanent bases

Nobody has set foot on the moon in my lifetime. For all the incredible scientific achievements and discoveries of the many uncrewed probes and rovers, and of course the various occupied space stations since Skylab and Mir, it’s still somewhat surprising. Is it what people imagined would happen after Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt left the moon’s surface on 14 December 1972? It now seems that our gaze – and priorities – have shifted back towards the moon. There’s barely a space agency worth the name that isn’t planning a mission to our satellite in the near future. Most of them have an eye on future crewed missions and even an eventual long-term crewed station.