On July 20, 1969, a spacecraft planted itself on lunar soil, carrying with it the first men who would ever step foot on the surface of the moon.
Forty-seven years later, we’re still trying to learn things about our dusty lunar satellite like where the heck it came from and what’s inside of it.
And yet it’s been 44 years since a human stomped around the cratered face of the moon.
Choked by fiscal restraints and changing national priorities, NASA shifted its focus to low Earth orbit, where the International Space Station (ISS) currently resides.
And recently, it seems that NASA has set its sights on missions to asteroids in deep space and, of course, Mars, leaving missions to the moon essentially in the dust.
In 2010, the Obama administration canceled the Constellation Program, which planned to bring us back to the moon “no later than 2020.”
And in 2013, NASA administrator Charles Bolden went on the record, saying “NASA is not going to the moon with a human as a primary project probably in my lifetime.”
Since the moon has taken a backseat in the American agenda for space explorations, other nations such as China, Japan, and Russia, as well as the European Space Agency, have taken the reign in the race to get back to the moon.
But according to Inverse, without the U.S. leading the charge, it’s possible that none of these astronauts will follow through on sending astronauts back to the moon anytime in the next 15 years.
“The best way to get us back to the moon is for the U.S. to get back in the race,” Inverse reports. “Since that’s not likely to occur, we can probably expect another two decades or so before Earth’s only natural satellite has visitors once again.”
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