Apollo 11 at 50: Back to the Moon… and Beyond?

NASA has been discussing concepts for human lunar exploration since the Apollo flights ended. In this 1995 artist’s concept, a lunar mining operation harvests oxygen from the lunar soil in Mare Serenatatis, a few kilometers from the Apollo 17 landing site. Image Credit: SAIC/Pat Rawlings
NASA has been discussing concepts for human lunar exploration since the Apollo flights ended. In this 1995 artist’s concept, a lunar mining operation harvests oxygen from the lunar soil in Mare Serenatatis, a few kilometres from the Apollo 17 landing site. Image Credit: SAIC/Pat Rawlings

Today, the descent stage of Lunar Module remains untouched where it was left in the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon. The ascent stage of the Lunar Module was left in a decaying lunar orbit and eventually crashed into the Moon’s surface. Will anyone be going back to see it in person?

10 years ago on downthetubes, Jeremy Briggs wrote a 40th anniversary day-by-day celebration series of articles marking the Apollo 11 mission, featuring contemporary British comics and illustrations – and you can read his 24th July 1969 entry here, the final item in his 2009 series

Break out your vintage Dinky toys and enjoy one last look back at those amazing events of 50 years ago!

Race into Space Brooke Bond Card - Mars Mission
Race into Space Brooke Bond Card – Mars Mission

The Apollo lunar flights may have ended in 1972, but the moon has remained of great interest to NASA and scientists around the world. “Apollo” invariably stands near the top of all search queries on NASA’s public web site.

Apollo Moon Landing Sites Map. Image: NASA
Apollo Moon Landing Sites Map. Image: NASA

NASA says it has has sent more than 500 Apollo lunar samples in recent years to scientists around the world for ongoing analysis. Each year, a handful of new scientific papers offer insights and updates to what we’ve learned about the moon from these samples.

In the half-century since people visited the Moon, NASA has continued to push the boundaries of knowledge and is now moving forward to a return to the Moon, with astronauts landing on the lunar South Pole by 2024, and, then, on to Mars…

While noting the plans present a formidable political, financial and technical challenge, perhaps there’s a job out there for Dan Dare after all…

We’re still waiting for the Mars Rockets Brooke Bond and PG Tips promised us. (And to find out where the art for all these wonderful “tea cards” ended up).
We’re still waiting for the Mars Rockets Brooke Bond and PG Tips promised us. (And to find out where the art for all these wonderful “tea cards” ended up).

WEB LINKS

NASA: Apollo’s Legacy Is NASA’s Future

The Guardian: Everyone’s Going back to The Moon – But Why?</strong
As the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo landing approaches, a host of countries are undertaking lunar missions. What’s behind the new space race?

MACH: NASA’s Artemis program will return astronauts to the moon and give us the first female moonwalker
It’s a bold plan — and success isn’t certain. Artemis faces political, budgetary and technological hurdles

Nature: Can NASA really return people to the Moon by 2024?
Donald Trump wants US astronauts back on the Moon. But his ambitious plan faces formidable political, financial and technical challenges.

The Star Tribune: The next giant leap

Houston Chronicle: Going Back: Why returning to the moon is so important for the US

NASA: Apollo 11 in Real Time, 50 Years Later

NASA: Frequently Asked Questions about Apollo

The Space Race from Audible on Amazon (Affiliate Link)

• “Moon Landing 40th Anniversary: A Comics Celebration” Gallery on Flickr

The Race into Space Tea Cards – available from the London Cigarette Card Company

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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