Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 (CST) by Thoth
For tens of thousands of years mankind has looked to the Moon as a source of superstition and wonderment. When Neil Armstrong took that historical first step on the moon on July 21st 1969, it seemed that mankind had finally conquered our enigmatic satellite. But did we, or did we simply scratch the surface and beat a hasty retreat?
There are dozens of anomalous facts concerning the moon that science is at a loss to explain, not least of which is how it is that according to the analysis of moon rocks, the moon, is at least a billion years older than the Earth itself. This fact alone seems to defy logic, and is something that modern cosmology is unable to explain, if the moon isn’t a fragment of the Earth, what is it, and how did it get here?
When you couple that with the fact that an awful lot of people believe the moon to be an alien base of some kind, we begin to realise that we no nearer understand the moon now, than our ancestors did thousands of years ago.
The Apollo Moon landings heralded a new era in mankind’s technological development, man had finally left our own planet, travelled around 385,000 km and was walking on a new and unfamiliar territory. It seemed to all that we had the perfect opportunity to further our understanding of how our universe was created and our knowledge of the moon itself. During the next three years, six missions to the moon were made and a total of twelve astronauts walked on the moon.
The US has been victorious in the space race between them and what was then the Soviet Union and it seemed natural that they would formalise that victory and claim their territory with something more substantial than planting the American flag. At the very least, it was expected that NASA would create a long term strategy for rock and mineral sampling and exploring the surface of the moon.
Each of the six lunar expeditions NASA had committed itself to were completed, although the Apollo 13 mission was unsuccessful. However, after Apollo 17, no new missions were scheduled. According to the space agency, there was ‘nothing else that could be learned’ from visiting the moon and the program was shelved. Likewise the former Soviet Union carried out its scheduled lunar exploration and then quietly sidelined its projects. Some commentators have suggested that both superpowers realised that the idea of creating moon bases or long term missions was cost prohibitive.
A growing number of people however, are convinced that both superpowers were ‘warned off’ by an extraterrestrial race that had already established a base on the far side of the moon. In any case, shortly after its ‘discovery’, the moon was abandoned by both superpowers that chose instead to invest tens of billions of dollars doing little more than flying around in circles; for the next thirty years the continuous orbiting of our own planet took priority to the scientific exploration of the moon. It is only recently that plans have been announced for a new expedition and a base to be constructed on the moon, even so, most of the work will be done with robots and humans will not actually return to the moon until 2018.