Nobody has visited the moon since 1972

What the Apollo 11 Mission achieved on July 21, 1969 will go down in history as one of humankind’s greatest ever achievements. On that date, humans first set foot on the moon. It is now known that the driving force of the Apollo 11 Mission was largely political, but there was huge public excitement and involvement at the time nevertheless. Everybody realized that what was about to happen transcended all political, religious and geographical divisions, and so everyone took an genuine interest in the landing. After the success of the first manned mission to the moon, other missions were quickly planned and executed, mostly successfully. Not surprising, as scientists were just realizing their space-faring capabilities and people were excited at the prospect of finding something interesting on the moon. Such was the intensity of this interest and desire to know more, that between 1969 and 1972, six different missions landed and twelve different people walked on the moon.

But that is it. No one since the Apollo 17 Mission in December 1972 has walked on the moon. No one.

This may come as a surprise to a few, as it does to me. The moon has by no means been fully examined up close, and it may seem illogical to stop sending people up there. But the truth is, there is really no need to send more people to the moon. Doing so holds almost no scientific or research value. Also, sending people to the moon is incredibly expensive. NASA has vast funding, but it must use this funding judiciously. Other missions such as the manned mission to Mars have taken preference over missions to the moon as they hold more scientific value. There is unlikely to be another manned mission to the moon until we have the capabilities to set up a permanent base on the moon. Some estimates claim that this may happen as soon as 2030, but it seems unlikely.

In fact, it is very likely that the next time a human visits the moon, it will be as a tourist and not as an astronaut. Virgin Galactic may soon offer commercial flights to space and even to the moon!


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