After the discovery of water on the moon and “Peaks of Eternal Light”, the moon rush on the earth aimed at the lunar south pole, has become a new phenomenon. Major space agencies have launched missions to moon namely Chandrayaan, Artemis, China’s Chang’e etc.
The moon is the only natural satellite on Earth and responsible for various geophysical phenomenon like tides. Apart from that it holds immense significance for humanity because of the following reasons:
- 1.Unlike the earth, the moon does not have a tilt around its axis. It is almost erect, because of which some areas in the polar region never receive sunlight. Scientists believe that rocks found in these craters could have fossil records that can reveal information about the early solar system.
- 2.The boot prints of Apollo astronauts who walked on the Moon are still there, and can be seen from orbit. That’s because the Moon lacks an Earth-like atmosphere, and so things stay unchanged for years hence making the Moon a geological time capsule.
- 3.During the early Solar System roughly 4 billion years ago, asteroids and comets have been bombarding planets and their moons at a vigorous pace. Most craters formed from such impacts on Earth are no longer visible due to erosion by wind and water. But the Moon being void of such processes has preserved most of its craters in roughly the same condition for millions and millions of years. By studying these craters, scientists infer what must have happened in the solar system’s past, making it a critical piece of our origin story.
- 4.Scientists use the Moon as an age reference to determine how old or young other features on worlds like Mars, Mercury and moons across the solar system are.
- 5.Unlike Earth and Venus, the Moon lacks tectonic activity so its internal structure is well preserved since its formation. This gives scientists an opportunity to understand how insides of planets form.
- 6.The Moon also has technological and economic value. In the last two decades, NASA and ISRO spacecraft have discovered water ice on the Moon’s poles. Future human habitats on the Moon could tap into this water ice for drinkable water, breathable air and rocket fuel.
Further, scientists study the Moon to understand how space radiation and micrometeorite bombardment can affect astronauts living in deep space for long periods, such as on missions to Mars. The Moon’s proximity and access to resources make it a great testbed of technologies required for deep space exploration, including putting humans on Mars. Long term, the Moon’s low gravity barrier allows it to be an efficient rocket platform to sustainably expand humans across the solar system.