When the first astronomers turned their eyes to the heavens tens of thousands of years ago, their view was not enhanced by the glare of the city lights. At night a clear black sheet stretched over the inaccessible ceiling. At the center of this ancient night landscape stood a flat gray disk that hung in the sky: the moon. We used to worship the moon, tell stories to explain her mysteries. In Australia, the local people of Yolongu called it Ngalindi, thinking that the full moon was a lazy, fluffy man with several women. As the moon moved through its phases, Yolungu believed that Naglindi's wives had taken him with his body, cutting off pieces, leaving only a crescent. Such stories abound in Aztec culture and the myths of ancient Mesopotamia, East Asia, India and Greece.
But on July 20, 1
969, we stepped on a moonlight and saw the surface of the moon near it for the first time. The earth was dead and crater. Only dusty plains stretched before us.
The moon was no longer a god to worship. It was a destination. A place we can visit, an object we can touch. Over the next three years, 12 people have walked on the surface of the moon, piloting rivers through Rama Hadley and Stone Mountain. They stole the moon's soil, studied rocks, visited crashing craters and placed flags. On December 14, 1972, NASA astronauts in the mission of Apollo 17 returned back to their moon spacecraft and left the moon for the Earth. The last time people stood on the moon .
But in 2019, the moon is being researched and explored again. In January, China unloaded the first spacecraft on the other side of the moon. Israeli Beresheet landed the first private spacecraft to reach the moon which collapsed on its surface in April. And NASA has doubled its efforts to bring people back to the moon before 2025 "with all the necessary means." This is an ambitious goal in the hope of establishing a permanent human presence on the moon and in the lunar orbit at the end of the next decade.
The immediate future of the moon will show us that we will build on the first steps taken in July 1969. We will send more robotic planes and roveries to conduct experiments on our behalf. China already has another Chang's mission scheduled for this year, and India will also look on the surface before the end of the year. Instead, the robots will search for water and explore the lunar mountains for the resources needed to establish a more permanent presence.