„Return to the Moon, but when and how…
As with Real Estate on Earth, on the Moon location is everything. Shackleton crater (upper left) hosts a hoary frost clinging to its permanently shadowed interior, and the Moon’s south pole resides on its rim. HDTV still captured by Japan’s SELENE-1 (Kaguya) November 17, 2007; Malapert Massif – part of the mountainous rim of South Pole-Aitken basin – stands sentinel under a waning Moon, with east Asia, Australia, the western Pacific and Antarctica on an Earth waxing full visible is the background [JAXA/NHK/SELENE].
When Eugene Cernan, commander of the Apollo 17 mission, headed back up the ladder of the Lunar Module on December 14, 1972, he became the last human to date to walk on the Moon. Almost every U.S. Administration since that time has announced America’s intention to go back to our nearest celestial neighbor and establish a permanent presence there, but more than 40 years have gone by since the last bootprint was made in the lunar dust. What are the prospects for a return any time soon?