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NASA And UK Space Agency Partnership: Britain Is A Step Closer To Walking On The Moon

British hopes of seeing a UK native walk on the moon have received a boost today with the announcement of a partnership between NASA and the UK Space Agency.

A statement, signed by the space agencies of the two nations, ‘essentially’ paves the way for the UK to send an astronaut on a lunar mission.

It comes on the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 – four days before the iconic moment Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon for the first time.

The agreement was announced in a speech from Science Minister Chris Skidmore at the Policy Exchange in London on Embracing the New Space Age.

Asked whether it meant the UK was one step closer to putting someone on the moon, Mr Skidmore said: ‘Essentially, yes.’

He added that he did not want to offer false optimism when the first priorities ‘are around earth observation, Copernicus (EU Earth observation programme), around maintaining stability of financing around our existing programmes and working towards Tim Peake getting back up for that second mission on the international space station’.

Mr Skidmore continued: ‘We know that today’s announcement with NASA provides for a wider international context – of which ESA (European Space Agency) must always be our hub.

‘The spokes that come off it allow for future participation, so I think an important announcement which will help pave the way for future engagement.’

The UK Space Agency said it recognises the scientific benefits of missions to the moon and the important role the growing commercial space sector will play in providing services on the lunar surface and in orbit.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore (pictured) said further lunar missions could set out a basis for further space travel and added that 'there are other areas of the moon to explore that haven't yet been investigated'

The statement of intent on lunar research and exploration highlights the common interests of the UK and US in space, and the role that both nations can play in addressing major scientific questions.

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Mr Skidmore said further lunar missions could set out a basis for further space travel.

He explained: ‘The question that ESA are very interested in is to what extent you use the moon as a basis for obviously going further out on to Mars for the future.

‘Obviously there are other areas of the moon to explore that haven’t yet been investigated.’

NASA and the UK Space Agency will establish a working group to co-ordinate joint scientific research and identify future opportunities to work together later this year.

Mr Skidmore said this represents the first time the two agencies have worked together in this way.

Graham Turnock, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said: ‘International collaboration is at the heart of space exploration and we want to work with partners around the world to deliver incredible science, develop innovative technologies and explore the solar system.

‘The UK Space Agency and NASA are already working on missions such as the Mars InSight lander, but there is so much more we can achieve together in the new space age.’


In total twelve people have walked on the moon.

1 + 2. Apollo 11 – July 21, 1969

Neil Armstrong made history by becoming the first person to set foot on the moon.

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Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin followed Neil Armstrong on to the surface of the moon.  His popular nickname gave itself to the animated characte Buzz Lightyear.

3 + 4. Apollo 12 – November 19 and 20, 1969

Pete Conrad and Alan Bean were the moon walkers on the Apollo 12 mission.

The Apollo 12 crew experienced two lightning strikes just after their Saturn V rocket launched.

5 + 6. Apollo 14 – February 5, 1971

Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell who were part of the Apollo 14 mission. They launched on January 31, 1971, and landed in the Fra Mauro region of the moon, the original destination for Apollo 13.

7 + 8. Apollo 15 – July 31, 1971

David Scott and James Irwin landed on the moon and stayed for three days, until August 2nd.

 9 + 10. Apollo 16 – April 21 1972

John Young and Charles Duke were the next men to walk on the moon. When the crew reached lunar orbit, the mission almost had to be aborted because of a problem with Command/Service Module’s main engine.

11 + 12. Apollo  17 – December 11, 1972

The final people to walk on the moon were Eugene (Gene) Cernan and Harrison (Jack) Schmitt.

Before he left the moon, Cernan scratched the initials of his daughter Tracy into the lunar regolith. Since the moon does not experience weather conditions like wind or rain to erode anything away, her initials should stay there for a very long time.

Source: Dailymail


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