This year opened with a lunar eclipse on January 21. But for the Moon, this is only the first step in attracting attention, since in 2019 it will be 50 years since the first landing of the crew on the Earth satellite in the Apollo 11 mission.
After more than four decades, the Moon was again under the scrutiny of space agencies around the world. And now the earth satellite is considered as targets, both for robotic missions, and human launches. But first, let's talk about a recent eclipse.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when our planet passes between the moon and sunlight, blocking the rays of a star. Thus, the moon is in the earth's shadow, and its surface becomes orange or red. Why? The fact is that a small part of the sunlight is refracted by the earth's atmosphere, and basically the red light reaches the surface of the moon. Many Europeans woke up early to admire the phenomenon and take photos. Here is an image from Lake Maggiore. But the earth satellite is not only one of the most beautiful and nearby celestial bodies, but also a target for future missions.
The European Space Agency is working with international partners to prepare several missions to the moon. Development will take over the next few years. The basis for the preparation of the spacecraft Orion, which should deliver people to the moon.
The European service module (engine), which activates the spacecraft, is now being tested in the United States. ESA also plans to send robotic missions to explore the polar regions.