Fifty years after the first Moon landing, researchers are working at full speed on the next lunar mission. Their aim is to build a habitable research station on the Moon. What is the current state of play in international lunar research?
For four and a half billion years, the Moon has been the Earth’s constant companion. Fifty years after man first set foot on its surface, researchers around the world are again working flat out on a new lunar mission to the Moon with the aim of setting up a habitable research station there. In 1969, the American astronaut Neil Armstrong spent less than a day on the Moon. Now the aim is to actually be able to live there. However, there are still some significant obstacles to overcome. Unprotected by any atmosphere, the Moon’s surface is exposed to a hundred times more radiation than the Earth, and any habitable Moon base will have to solve this problem. But how will they be able to build a module where researchers can live and work for months at all? Engineers and scientists are working on ways to use Moon dust, which is similar to basalt, as a building material. Another problem is that space suits have mainly been designed for space travel and they are unsuitable for use in low gravity conditions – the Moon’s gravity is just a sixth of the Earth’s. The German Aerospace Center’s EDEN ISS project is testing ways to cultivate food in a hostile environment in Antarctica, growing tomatoes and cucumbers are grown in a closed-circuit container. The filmmakers visit research institutes all over the world to get up-to-date answers to the most crucial questions about lunar research.
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