What's the point of going to the moon?

I know there have been many missions to the moon and it's incredible to think humans have walked on its surface! But apart from "because we can", what's the...
23 May 2017





Why bother going to the moon?


Chris Smith put this question to Space Boffin Richard Hollingham.

Richard - I would say there are three reasons. Reason one is resources: so you could look for helium 3; we could use that on earth to power fusion reactors. You could maybe look for rare earth elements on the moon. But, actually, to bring stuff back from the moon it’s going to be a huge amount of energy, probably not worthwhile. You could use the moon’s resources, so water, the rock there to build bases or even to power future spacecraft, but that’s slightly self-serving.

I would say the main point of going to the moon is because it’s the next thing. It’s the over the hill; it’s across the river; it’s over the sea. It’s what we do as humans; it’s aspirational.

And then you could look for all the other reasons, all the spin-offs we’ve got from space like the computers, electronics, microwaves…

Chris - Wifi…

Richard - Imagining technology, wifi, all these…

Chris - Velcro…

Richard - All these sorts of things.

Chris - Biros…

Richard - Well actually…

Chris - Is that true?

Richard - The velcro’s sort of not so true.

Kat - Smoke detectors.

Chris - smoke detectors - really?

Kat - and carbon monoxide detectors.

Chris - Were they invented solely for the purpose of space?

Kat - Yes.

Richard - Can I throw one more thing in - is inspiration. The people inspired by space, the kids inspired by space. You look at two of the biggest entrepreneurs doing space right now - Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos both inspired by the moon landings. They are the reasons to go to the moon.


So basically it's a waste of money,

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