Why haven't there been more lunar landings in recent years?
There seem to be a lot of questions about the moon...here's another one!
The last manned lunar landing took place in December of 1972. The mission was Apollo 17. Despite the public's interest in the first lunar landing in 1969, NASA's budget was cut in 1971 to the lowest level in nine years. Because of this budget cut, Apol lo 18, 19, and 20 were cancelled.
Soon after the first landing on the Moon, there was no longer public support for space exploration. U.S. President Nixon, Congress and the press soon followed in showing disinterest for the space program.
Exploration of the Moon could no longer hold Americans' attention. There were just too many things happening closer to home. The years of Apollo were also the years of the civil rights movement, and the years of political unrest with Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy being slain, along with thousands of Americans in Vietnam.
Lunar exploration has just recently started again. The Clementine orbiter was launched in January 1994 in order to map the moon more thoroughly. The Lunar Prospector is to be launched in
September 1997. It is designed to study polar ice deposits and the moon's gravity fields. It is still thought that early next century man will return to the Moon, this time for good. Astronauts, scientists, and engineers will set up a permanent base t
o support astronomical and mining activities. It has been fondly termed Moon Town!
Submitted by Missel (Nebraska, USA)
(August 4, 1997)