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Why is it difficult to go to the moon?

Why is it difficult to go to the moon?

(© Cité de l'espace/P. Carton)

Olivier Sange is responsible for space news at the Cité de l'espace in Toulouse.

What happened with The peregrine falcon ?

Olivier Sange: For this mission, liftoff went well, but a few hours later, a fuel leak occurred. gold, In space, the smallest problem can cancel the entire mission. The peregrine falconIt was unable to reach the Moon, and the probe was destroyed about ten days later upon reentering the Earth's atmosphere. Fortunately, there were no astronauts on board.

Japan also sent a spacecraft to the moon recently. Did he succeed?

Olivier Sange: Yes. On January 19, Japan landed on the moon A small automatic machine called SLIM. The problem is that the solar panels are not working at the moment. Therefore, the SLIM project lacks the electricity needed to recharge its batteries.

This image is a very realistic drawing of SLIM. (© JAXA)

Why is it difficult to go to the moon?

Olivier Sange: Because, first, we have to get off the ground, which requires very powerful engines. Then, after several days in space…we have to land! It's very difficult, because on lunar soil, There are lots of rocks and holes of all sizes. In addition, there is no atmosphere on the Moon. this means That there is no air that would slow down the ship, With an umbrella, for example. Therefore it is necessary to control the landing with engines.

The Americans have already succeeded in sending astronauts to the moon. What has changed since then?

Olivier Sange: It is true that about fifty years ago, NASA was able to quickly send astronauts to the moon. The United States spent a lot of money on this, especially to show its superiority over its great rival, the Soviet Union (Russia). Nowadays, they plan to do this feat again by 2026. But It takes longer because they invest less money, and also because they take less risk. They are doing more tests, to avoid endangering the lives of the astronauts. In addition, They work on more complex technologies, For example, developing reusable equipment.

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Why do some people believe that Americans have never been to the moon?

Olivier Sange: that it wrong information Which can be seen on the Internet. Those who think so are not stupid, but they were Deceived by arguments that seem valid…and others that are not! Sometimes it's hard not to fall into this trap. To avoid this, you must be aware. For example, at the Cité de l'espace in Toulouse, there is a lot of information on this topic, and specialists can answer visitors' questions.

(© Cité de Lespas)

The Cité de l'espace in Toulouse offers a new experience, LuneXplorer, which explains all about upcoming lunar missions. They even allow visitors to discover what astronauts feel during takeoff and landing!

Elise Ringot