Technology, Money, and the Return to the Moon
The Moon remains an object of great attraction to mankind. It has a noticeable effect on our lives (sleep, tides), and many people feel an emotional connection to it. Who doesn’t like to gaze up at the Moon at night? After all the discussion about the authenticity of the Moon landings, I am constantly asked whether or not I think humans will ever visit our satellite again. With the extraordinary success of the lunar missions, many people ask why the Americans stopped making trips to the Moon and why the Soviets gave up going there altogether. After all, it is the first stop on the way to the planets, the ever-present goals of all would-be space explorers. And since I myself am helping to shape the German space program, I get asked whether or not we will head back to the Moon in the foreseeable future. In light of the rapid pace of technology development, this question is not easy to answer. Who would have predicted the impact of the internet 30 years ago? Nevertheless, there are indications that allow us to speculate on the future of spaceflight. An unbiased evaluation of the necessary technologies, as well as realistic considerations of the expected efforts and costs, can be an effective way to inform this discussion.