Tag Archives: moon

50th Anniversary of the Historic Apollo 11 Mission to the Moon

“A grand attempt to reach beyond the world of mundane life and transcend the ordinary limits of human existence through accomplishment of the miraculous – a story of engineers who tried to reach the heavens.”
The Spaceflight Revolution, William Bainbridge

Fifty years ago, six hundred million people watched in awe as Commander Neil Armstrong took mankind’s first steps on lunar soil. For eight days, Apollo 11 carried Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin through space, as they made celestial observations that served as the foundation of previously inconceivable human exploration beyond planet Earth. For 21 ½ hours, Armstrong and Aldrin explored the Moon’s surface, gathering 47.5 pounds of Moon rocks to bring home, communicating back to Earth through thousands of miles of cosmic dust, and chronicling their experiences to share with the world. This milestone in human history marked an age of significant technological achievement, space exploration, and discovery, and inspired the world with possibilities of the future. This week, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon.

Since Armstrong’s famous words, “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” travelled thousands of miles from the lunar surface to Earth, there have been many new discoveries and conclusions regarding space, technology, and humanity. Astronaut-driven lunar rovers and other specialized equipment such as the Modularized Equipment Transporter (MET) enable astronauts to conduct longer, more in-depth geological surveys of different locations on the moon’s surface. Project Apollo, spanning from 1961–1975, not only accelerated scientific discovery, but also further developed society’s understanding of our own place within the cosmos. 50 years later, we ask ourselves: where do we go from here?

On December 11, 2017, President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-1 (SPD-1). This new directive instructed the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to lead a program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities. Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations.

In response to and in support of the vision expressed in SPD-1, the National Academies released a report that reviewed decadal and other community-guided lunar science priorities as context for NASA’s current lunar plans and evaluated the actions being taken by NASA’s Planetary Science Division (PSD) to support lunar science. At the request of NASA PSD, the National Academies released a second report that explores plans for commercial partnerships, lunar infrastructure development, and related aspects of NASA’s lunar science and exploration initiative. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of one of the most important days in human history, and to learn more about innovations in space technology, read online or download our reports.

 

Report Series: Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science: Review of the Planetary Science Aspects of NASA SMD’s Lunar Science and Exploration Initiative

On December 11, 2017, President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-1 (SPD-1). The new directive replaced original text in the National Space Policy of the United States of America and instructed the Administrator of the National …

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Report Series: Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science: Review of the Commercial Aspects of NASA SMD’s Lunar Science and Exploration Initiative

On December 11, 2017, President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-1 (SPD-1). The new directive replaced original text in the National Space Policy of the United States of America and instructed the Administrator of the National …

[more]

Revealing the Mysteries of Our Solar System

Photo credit: NASA

On January 3, a Chinese spacecraft made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon. This milestone has the potential to help us understand more about our solar system and the universe beyond. Our reports provide an independent, authoritative forum for information and advice on all aspects of space science. All are free to download.

Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society

From the interior of the Sun, to the upper atmosphere and near-space environment of Earth, and outward to a region far beyond Pluto where the Sun’s influence wanes, advances during the past decade in space physics and solar physics–the …

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Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Spacecraft Missions to Icy Solar System Bodies

NASA’s exploration of planets and satellites during the past 50 years has led to the discovery of traces of water ice throughout the solar system and prospects for large liquid water reservoirs beneath the frozen ICE shells of multiple satellites …

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Review and Assessment of Planetary Protection Policy Development Processes

Protecting Earth’s environment and other solar system bodies from harmful contamination has been an important principle throughout the history of space exploration. For decades, the scientific, political, and economic conditions of space …

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Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022

In recent years, planetary science has seen a tremendous growth in new knowledge. Deposits of water ice exist at the Moon’s poles. Discoveries on the surface of Mars point to an early warm wet climate, and perhaps conditions under which life …

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Visions into Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022: A Midterm Review

In spring 2011 the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine produced a report outlining the next decade in planetary sciences. That report, titled Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022, and …

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Exoplanet Science Strategy

The past decade has delivered remarkable discoveries in the study of exoplanets. Hand-in-hand with these advances, a theoretical understanding of the myriad of processes that dictate the formation and evolution of planets has matured, spurred on …

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An Astrobiology Strategy for the Search for Life in the Universe

Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. It is an inherently interdisciplinary field that encompasses astronomy, biology, geology, heliophysics, and planetary science, including …

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Searching for Life Across Space and Time: Proceedings of a Workshop

The search for life is one of the most active fields in space science and involves a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including planetary science, astronomy and astrophysics, chemistry, biology, chemistry, and geoscience. In December 2016, …

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