These are the countries leading the ambitious race to conquer the Moon

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Following in the footsteps of the United States, Russia, China and India, Japan joined the elite group of countries that have achieved a soft landing on the lunar surface. A fact that, according to experts, predicts an increase in the frequency of lunar missions, with more than 100 missions planned for the year 2030, as indicated by the European Space Agency.

Renewed race toward the moon responds to need “Go to the Moon to learn to live in space, to learn to use the resources of space and that’s really the springboard to all the vast riches of the universe.” said to cnbc Michelle Hanlon, executive director of the Center for Air and Space Law at the University of Mississippi. “The Moon is a testing ground,” he said.

Resources sought by both countries and corporations include rare earth metals and the isotope helium-3, which is abundant on the Moon and potentially useful for powering nuclear fusion reactors., Furthermore, the presence of water is a vital resource not only for human survival but also for the manufacture of rocket fuel, which could turn the Moon into a refueling station and platform for deep space exploration.

Japan has joined the select group of countries that have successfully completed a soft landing on the Moon, a feat achieved so far only by the United States, Russia, China and India. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-hoon)

“Whoever manages to establish a significant presence on the Moon is making a statement about their political system, their economic system, about who is ahead in geopolitical competition.”Dean Cheng, senior adviser to the China Program at the United States Institute of Peace, said in the same medium. “But the second, more recent part is the belief that there are important resources on the Moon that are useful to Earth or to future space flights.”

Recently, NASA announced that it has postponed its manned return to the Moon to the end of 2026, a year later than planned, amid recent constraints that the US space agency is placing on private companies for its missions. Challenges the strategy of dependence. The lunar lander, which has resulted in failures such as delays in the Artemis program and propulsion failure in the Astrobotic company’s lunar lander. Meanwhile, China is moving forward with its own government-backed program and aims to have a human landing on a natural satellite by 2030.

Although Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander will not reach the Moon unscathed, NASA has planned three more private missions this year, including Astrobotic’s second attempt. In a lunar mission like Astrobotic, “ten thousand things have to go right,” he said. reuters Carnegie Mellon professor Red Whitaker, who led the development of Peregrine, a small four-wheel lunar rover. “It’s very, very common for failures to occur during a mission.”

“We have to become a commercial company. We’re trying to be competitive in this new era of commercial space flight. “If you look at the budget, we have to be more creative and efficient and do things differently,” Bhaskaran said.

China and NASA in Space Competition: The Moon as a Strategic Objective. (Reuters/Tingshu Wang)

China is not far behind in lunar achievements, with a mission scheduled this year to collect samples on the far side of the satellite, making it the first soft landing on the Moon since 1976. Chang’e-3 And the first landing on the far side of the Moon Chang’e-4 In 2019.

Other countries like India have learned from its failures and successes, such as the landing of Chandrayaan-3 on the south pole of the Moon. According to Pawan Kumar Chandana, co-founder of Skyroot Aerospace, the country views Astrobotic’s misfortune as a valuable learning curve, motivating its startups to undertake missions of this magnitude in the future.

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