Why go back to the Moon?
NASA has three main reasons for going back to the Moon:
To develop new technologies, capabilities, and business approaches needed for future exploration, including crewed missions to Mars.
When you learned to ride a bike, you probably practiced on your own street before traveling across the neighborhood to a friend’s house. NASA uses the same strategy to keep astronauts safe. Missions to the Moon are cheaper, safer, and can be launched more frequently than missions to Mars. After we get the hang of traveling to and living on the Moon, we will be ready to visit our neighbor, Mars.
To study the Moon to learn more about the origin and history of Earth, the Moon, and our solar system.
If you draw a smiley face in the sand on a beach, will it still be there in a week? Probably not! The surface of the Earth is constantly changed by water, wind, and life. The Moon has no liquid water or windy atmosphere, and its surface has remained mostly the same for billions of years! A step onto the Moon is a step back in time. The Moon can tell us things about the solar system that we can’t learn from studying the Earth.
To inspire a new generation and encourage careers in STEM.
Ask a family member who was alive in 1969, and they will tell you where they were and how they felt when Neil Armstrong put the first footprint on the Moon. During the Apollo program, the world watched as scientists and engineers built and tested the rockets, spacecraft, and tools needed to land humans safely on the Moon. Watching Apollo inspired a generation of young people to pursue STEM degrees and careers. Now NASA wants to inspire a new generation, including you!