Though USA and Russia were the forerunners for exploratory trips to the moon via both manned and unmanned spacecraft, now China and India are beating a path to the only natural satellite of earth. After the initial race between 1966 and 1976 both Russia and US lost interest in moon and in the last 42years the only spacecraft that travelled to it was the Chinese Chang’e 3 which landed on 2013. But early this year when China landed a probe on the far side of the moon it has led to another scramble by everyone to race to it.
The first to announce definite plans were Israel which is sending its first moon spacecraft that is likely to be launched from Florida by end of this week. On the 50th anniversary of Apollo’s visit to the moon this year two missions to the lunar surface are being planned by India and China. NASA administrator Jim Bridestine stated that they too will partner with private space exploration firms to send out an American spacecraft to the moon by end of this year. If the plans of all these landings are successful this year could be a record setter of sorts when so many spacecraft would land on the moon.
Early moon landings had ended up in the spacecraft crashing onto its surface but now technology has made it easy to land and move them remotely across its surface without any issues. Trump’s officials have said that making a trip to the moon this year is a top priority and NASA stated that its plan to take humans to the moon by 2028 are a part of Bridestine’s long term goal of building a permanent presence near it. But going to the moon and coming back is an expensive exercise as vehicles have to take enough fuel to get to the destination and back home.