• Reading Level 5
Science | History

US fires starting gun in new race to the Moon

The US has announced that it will put a woman on the Moon by 2024, sparking a new space race against Russia, China and India. The winner could dominate the next era of human history. On 20 July 1969, 600 million people across the world crowded around their television screens as Neil Armstrong took his first step on the Moon. Fifty years on, the US has unfinished business. "We're in a space race today, just as we were in the 1960s, and the stakes are even higher," declared Vice President Mike Pence to the National Space Council. The US wants to return to the Moon by 2024, which is just five years' away and four years earlier than planned. "The first womanNeil Armstrong - the first man on the moon - uttered the words "man" and "mankind" while on a walk there. He later maintained that he actually said "a man" rather than simply "man". and the next man on the moon will both be American astronauts launched from rockets from American soil," he said. But can the US succeed in its new mission? We certainly have the technology, say experts. However, NASA and private companies will have to build and test the technology on a very tight schedule and an even tighter budget. And yet, the rapid progress of the first 1960s should not be forgotten. "[It is] time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on Earth," said President John F. Kennedy in 1961. Five years later, the Moon landing marked the pinnacle of the Space Race, which pitted the US against the Soviet Union in a battle for technological superiority. As suspicion mounted between the Cold WarA period of diplomatic conflict between blocs led by the USA and the USSR that lasted from 1947 until 1991, when the USSR collapsed. foes, dominance in space was seen as essential to national security and global influence. Their fierce rivalry gave birth to a golden age of space exploration before it fizzled out amid a series of disasters and spiralling costs. Eugene Cernan was the last person to walk on the Moon in 1972. This time around, new contenders are taking the field. In January, China shocked the world when it landed the first ever probe on the dark side of the Moon. And just this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed his country a "space superpower" after it shot a satellite out of orbit. This display of military might has reignited fears that competition among superpowers will one day lead to warfare in space. "It is absolutely inevitable that we will see conflict move into space," says international law expert Michael Schmitt. Lunar-cy What is at stake? The new space race could decide not just Donald Trump's legacySomething that comes from events in the past., but which countries will control the technology to dominate the next era of human history. But this is no longer about nationalist egos. As climate change threatens our planet, could space exploration be the key to human survival? Or could it be our downfall? India's latest move is a reminder that space could be the next great battleground. Indeed, there is evidence that Russia is testing attack satellites that could cause massive disruption in enemy countries. Is a new space race bad news? KeywordsWoman - Neil Armstrong - the first man on the moon - uttered the words "man" and "mankind" while on a walk there. He later maintained that he actually said "a man" rather than simply "man".

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