By Madison Butkus
Hometown Weekly Reporter
The Dover Town Library shared an online event sponsored by the Friends at the Tewksbury Library this past Thursday, July 13th. This event, titled “Landing on the Moon,” was led by Solar System Ambassador and volunteer educator with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, David S. Ball. He discussed past missions of landing on the Moon as well current plans that different programs are making to once again return to the Moon.
In regards to this event, Dover Town Library stated, “From the first crash landing in 1959; the first manned landing a decade later; and the upcoming plans by SpaceX, Blue Origin, and others to execute routine soft landings on the surface of the Moon, we will explore the surprisingly difficult feat of ‘landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth.”
All of this is exactly what Ball discussed during his presentation and went into great detail about each aspect. When starting his discussion, he stated, “You know in the last couple of years, we’ve seen a number of nations attempt to soft land on the moon and fail. And I thought, ‘Well, you know, we landed on the Moon sixty years ago, so why should this be tough?,’ And so I wanted to look at that and share that with you. … First of all, it is hard to get out of Earth’s gravity well. It was, it still is. What was done in the late sixties was nothing short of miraculous. It was more artistry than it was science. This is hard stuff to do even with the technology that we currently have.”
In terms of the progress people have made over the years to touch down on the Moon, there have been multiple recent attempts that all ended in hard landings. The countries who conducted these attempts were Israel, India, and Japan all within the year 2019. In total, there have only been three countries to ever successfully land on the Moon: the United States, the Soviet Union, and China.
When discussing future plans and goals to once again bring man to the Moon again, there are multiple efforts being conducted in hopes of high success. It is certainly not an easy task, but there are spacecrafts being made and sent out in the near future. There was even a spacecraft sent out just this past April of 2023 that was the first orbital launch attempt of the Starship spacecraft. Although this launch attempt ended up in the destruction of the vehicle only four minutes into the flight, Ball mentioned how impressed everyone was with how well it went overall. With this, there are plans to rebuild this spacecraft once more and try again.
There are many more expeditions that are planned to take place through the years 2024-2029. In the words of Ball, “These are very exciting times. There are all kinds of exciting things going on in space and different countries are going back to the Moon. So someone is going back to the Moon soon and it’s going to be so exciting.”