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Nations and their Moon Missions

The most notable finding of the mission was the presence of water molecules on moon which in turn has revived the interest on moon missions

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Chandrayaan-2, Moon, India
Embarking on its second voyage to the moon on July 15, an Indian spacecraft and rover would land near the lunar south pole. Pixabay

It was in 1950s when mission to the moon caught the fancy of several countries. But in sometime they were abandoned. In fact, the moon itself became an abandoned planet, said M. Annadurai, former Director, U.R. Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Lately, the moon is back into trend again. And this could be credited to India’s first moon mission Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 which found water molecules on the moon, Annadurai, who was the key man behind that mission, told IANS.

The former Soviet Union (now Russia) and the US had undertaken several moon missions since 1958.

However, it was the Soviet mission in September 1959 that succeeded first when its lunar impactor carried by its rocket Luna landed on the moon’s surface. The next month Russia followed it by a flyby mission.

After that, there were several failed attempts made by Russia and the US to land on the moon.

In July 1964, the US achieved success with its impactor landed on the moon surface. The spacecraft Ranger-7 was carried by its rocket Atlas LV-3 Agena B.

In 1966, Russia’s Luna-9 became the first spacecraft to land on the moon. The same year, the US made a successful landing with its lander on the moon.

India, Spacecraft, Moon
A spectator holds an Indian flag after a mission of Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-2, with the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle on board was called back because of a technical snag in Sriharikota, India, July 15, 2019. VOA

The first crewed mission to the moon was by the US in December 1968. The spacecraft Apollo-8 orbited the moon and returned back to Earth.

The first human moon landing mission was launched by the US on July 16, 1969 with Neil Armstrong becoming the first man to step on the moon on July 21, 1969.

Later, Japan sent up its lunar mission in 1990, followed by the European Space Agency in 2003.

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Asian giant China started its moon mission in 2007 with its orbiter. The country landed its rover on the moon in 2013. Earlier this year, China landed its spacecraft on the far side of the moon.

On its part, India began its moon mission on October 22, 2008 with its spacecraft Chandrayaan-1. The country also landed its Moon Impact Probe on November 14, 2008, thereby becoming the fourth country to have a touch down on the moon surface.

The most notable finding of the mission was the presence of water molecules on moon which in turn has revived the interest on moon missions. (IANS)

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NASA Explore Technology To Build Future Homes Made of Fungi For Moon, Mars

Upon arrival, by unfolding that basic structure and simply adding water, the fungi will be able to grow around that framework into a fully functional human habitat

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NASA
Keeping that in mind, the myco-architecture project out of NASA Ames Research Center in California is prototyping technologies that could "grow" habitats on the Moon, Mars and beyond out of life - specifically, fungi and the unseen underground threads that make up the main part of the fungus, known as mycelia. Pixabay

Instead of habitats made of metal and glass, NASA is exploring technologies that could grow structures out of fungi to become our future homes in the stars, and perhaps lead to more sustainable ways of living on Earth as well.

Creating a livable home for future astronauts means doing more than growing a roof to go over their heads. Astronauts will need to have all their basic needs met, just like on Earth, and face the additional challenges of living in a harsh environment on a distant world, the US space agency said in a statement.

Keeping that in mind, the myco-architecture project out of NASA’s Ames Research Center in California is prototyping technologies that could “grow” habitats on the Moon, Mars and beyond out of life – specifically, fungi and the unseen underground threads that make up the main part of the fungus, known as mycelia.

“Right now, traditional habitat designs for Mars are like a turtle – carrying our homes with us on our backs – a reliable plan, but with huge energy costs,” said Lynn Rothschild, the principal investigator on the early-stage project.

“Instead, we can harness mycelia (vegetative part of a fungus) to grow these habitats ourselves when we get there”. Ultimately, the project envisions a future where human explorers can bring a compact habitat built out of a lightweight material with dormant fungi that will last on long journeys to places like Mars.

Upon arrival, by unfolding that basic structure and simply adding water, the fungi will be able to grow around that framework into a fully functional human habitat – all while being safely contained within the habitat to avoid contaminating the Martian environment.

Mycelia are tiny threads that build complex structures with extreme precision, networking out into larger structures like mushrooms.
With the right conditions, they can be coaxed into making new structures – ranging from a material similar to leather to the building blocks for a Mars habitat.

NASA
Instead of habitats made of metal and glass, NASA is exploring technologies that could grow structures out of fungi to become our future homes in the stars, and perhaps lead to more sustainable ways of living on Earth as well. Pixabay

That last layer of mycelia is what organically grows into a sturdy home, first activated to grow in a contained environment and then baked to kill the lifeforms – providing structural integrity and ensuring no life contaminates Mars and any microbial life that’s already there. Even if some mycelia somehow escaped, they will be genetically altered to be incapable of surviving outside the habitat, said NASA.

Mycelia could also be used for water filtration and biomining systems that can extract minerals from wastewater – another project active in Rothschild’s lab – as well as bioluminescent lighting, humidity regulation and even self-generating habitats capable of healing themselves. And with about 40% of carbon emissions on Earth coming from construction, there’s an ever-increasing need for sustainable and affordable housing here as well.

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The harsh environments of the Moon and Mars will require new ways of living – growing homes instead of building them, mining minerals from sewage instead of rock. “But by turning to the elegant systems of our own natural world, we can design solutions that are green and sustainable. Whether on distant worlds or our own ever-changing Earth, fungi could be what brings us boldly into the future,” said NASA. (IANS)