It’s been 45 years since human beings have set foot on the moon. The last time a person stepped on the surface of Earth’s satellite was December, 1972, as part of the Apollo 17 mission for NASA.
In four-and-a-half decades, nobody has returned to the moon, and it’s not due to the lack of science and technology. According to a Business Insider report, the reason is due to budget restraints and political issues.
“A permanent human research station on the moon is the next logical step. It’s only three days away. We can afford to get it wrong, and not kill everybody. And we have a whole bunch of stuff we have to invent and then test in order to learn before we can go deeper out,” former astronaut Chris Hadfield said.
Unfortunately, as Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Cunningham told Congress during a testimony in 2015, “Manned exploration is the most expensive space venture and, consequently, the most difficult for which to obtain political support.” Later he explained that going to the moon is out of reach for now due to budgetary issues.
“NASA’s budget is way too low to do all the things that we’ve talked about doing here,” Cunningham said.
While private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin plan to conduct space tourism in the near future, Inquisitr reported that Hadfield doesn’t believe those rockets can actually achieve space travel to Mars.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to use its Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) for space missions, and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin plans to use its New Glenn for similar missions. While Bezos believes Blue Origin’s rocket is better than the SpaceX one, Hadfield feels neither provide what is needed to get humanity to the red planet. He also has his doubts about NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS).
“Personally, I don’t think any of those three rockets is taking people to Mars,” he said. Ultimately, for Hadfield, while the science is easily there to get back to the moon and further explore that resource, the science and technology for Mars at this point in time is seriously lacking.
“I think we need some more improvements in technology before we’ll cross the ‘oceans’ that are between us and Mars in any sort of practical way.”
While 55 percent of people in the United States believe that the country should make returning to the moon a priority, unfortunately, preparations for such missions last longer than one administration, and political goals and pressures change with each election, which makes returning to the moon or other space missions nearly impossible to achieve.