Hello Joe!

To follow up on Mehak’s response, there is a lot that we can learn by returning to the Moon!

In addition to searching for water in the polar regions and looking at lunar geology, we can also study human performance on an extraterrestrial planetary surface. Current extravehicular activities (EVAs or spacewalks) on the International Space Station occur in microgravity. During upcoming missions to the Moon, astronauts will need to walk, run, or otherwise locomote in their spacesuits for the first time in 50 years. We need to understand how the reduced gravity of the moon (about 17% of the gravity on Earth) affects locomotion and the energy & consumables required to perform EVAs. We’ll also need to assess our spacesuits to ensure that astronauts have the mobility and comfort required for locomotion and other required activities.

Our return to the Moon is also an important stepping stone towards Mars! While it will only take a few days to get to the Moon, the trip to Mars will take months. Crews will also need to be more autonomous on Mars, because communication with Earth could be delayed by up to 20 min. If an emergency were to occur on Mars, the crew members will need to be equipped to handle the situation. On the Moon, we can test our capabilities and technologies in closer proximity on Earth and while having access to ground-personnel.

By returning to the Moon, we can expand our current knowledge, advance our technological capabilities, and prepare for future human exploration! Space exploration can also benefit life on Earth. Knowledge of the Moon can help us to understand our own planet, and technology developed for space can often be translated for applications on Earth! For example, the technology used for camera phones was first developed for a spacecraft!