Thesis: Human Race's Exploration of the Moon

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MAN'S EXPLORATION of the MOON

Although the moon, Earth's only natural satellite, has been the focus of much study and inquiry for hundreds of years, it was not until the dawn of the age of technology circa the early 1950's that humans began to seriously consider sending rockets, probes and man himself to this lonely and mysterious outpost some 230,000 miles from planet Earth. Of course, the United States and the Soviet Union (i.e., today's Russia) are the nations best-known for their activities related to exploring the moon, but beginning around the mid-1990's, other nations like China, Japan, India and France set out to explore this body in space via a number of probes and satellites, some of which were highly successful and have added substantially to our knowledge concerning the moon and its environment.

Under the auspices of its own National Space Administration, the nation of China successfully launched an unmanned lunar orbiter known as Chang'e 1 in 2007 and plans on sending other orbiters sometime in 2009. The main purpose behind these and future lunar probes is to tap into the moon's immense reserves of naturally-occurring metals like iron and what is known as helium-3 for use in nuclear fusion power plants. Certainly, due to its burgeoning economy, the nation of China sees the moon as a great source of energy and materials for future use in a number of technologically-related endeavors (Heiken, 156).

Much like China, the nation of Japan has demonstrated much interest in exploring the moon which began in the mid-1980's with the LUNAR -- a and SELENE lunar projects. This was followed in 1990 by the launching of a satellite known as MUSES-a/HITEN, aimed at "establishing the technologies including satellite trajectory control which would be required for future lunar and planetary exploration projects" ("Japan's Lunar Exploration," Internet) by Japan. In 1994, Japan's Space Activities Commission created a "long-term vision with the moon as a main target for national space development" in conjunction with the National Space Development Agency and the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science. These and other ambitious lunar projects have succeeded greatly and have provided much data and knowledge related to areas of the moon which are still under intense investigation by the U.S. And Russia ("Japan's Lunar Exploration," Internet).

Similarly, the nation of India sent its first exploratory mission to the moon in September of 2008 known as Chandrayaan-1, aimed at studying the lunar surface for possible naturally-occurring elements which are rare on the Earth. The entity responsible for this successful mission, the Indian Space Research Organization (IRSO), is quite impressive and plans on making some huge strides in the exploration of not only the moon but also other solar bodies (O'Neill, Internet). Established in 1972, this organization was created in order to "develop space-based technologies aimed at enriching" India's ever-growing economy and has plans to launch similar missions sometime after 2010 (O'Neill, Internet).

Obviously, the two nations with the longest and most successful missions to the moon are the United States and Russia, formerly the U.S.S.R. This is often referred to as the "Space Race" from 1947 to 1977, a term used to describe "the attempts by the U.S. And the Soviet Union to land a man on the moon" (Stroud, 186). The most well-known of all the Soviet programs was

Luna, a series of robot missions initiated by the Soviets in 1957 which continued until 1976 and were designed to "study the characteristics of the moon by orbital or landing vehicles carrying remote-controlled equipment." This program was made up of twenty-five missions, most of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Human Race's Exploration of the Moon.  (2009, October 5).  Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/human-race-exploration-moon/8398339

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"Human Race's Exploration of the Moon."  5 October 2009.  Web.  21 July 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/human-race-exploration-moon/8398339>.

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"Human Race's Exploration of the Moon."  Essaytown.com.  October 5, 2009.  Accessed July 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/human-race-exploration-moon/8398339.