Moon Day celebrates when man first landed on the Moon and how 51 years later everyone wants a piece of it

The first footprint's on the MoonNASA
  • National Moon Day commemorates the first time humanity landed on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission.
  • 51 years down the line the conversation around the Moon is no longer about exploration but about ownership.
  • The increased knowledge about the kind of resources the Moon has and what that could mean for deeper space exploration has everyone wanting a piece of the pie.
National Moon Day may only be celebrated in the United States but it marks a moment that is a milestone for all of humanity. National Moon Day commemorates the time Neil Armstrong landed on the lunar surface followed by his first steps saying, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Come 2020, nearly five decades have passed since humans visited the Moon last. The last crewed mission to the Moon was on 7 December 1972 — not that space agencies across the world have softened their resolve.

Play iconA circle surrounding a triangle pointing right. It indicates, "this type of media can be played."This is why no one can legally own the Moon

Everyone wants a piece of the pie when it come to the Moon, including private companies like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Orbit and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Both companies are also working alongside the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to launch Artemis by 2024.

Artist's representation of the NASA Human Landing System being built in cooperation with Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Northop Group and Draper for the Artemis Moon missionBlue Origin

The Moon is now about property rights, not just exploration
The US government recently brought back the issue of property rights on the Moon. This is largely because enough scientific findings have concluded that there are minerals and chemicals on the Moon that could help companies save a fortune back on Earth.

Apollo 11 takes off from Floriday on 16 July 1969NASA

The use of resources from the Moon also holds the potential to drum down costs for deeper space exploration. Helium-3, for instance, could a potential way to provide safer nuclear energy in a fusion reactor, since it is not radioactive and would not produce dangerous waste products according to the ESA

Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong working at an equipment storage area on the lunar module with US flag planted on the lunar surfaceNASA

While there may be US flags symbolically planted or scattered remnants of Russia’s Luna Landers on the Moon’s surface, no nation claims ownership of the Moon — yet. The international legal status of mining in space continues to remain unclear and controversial.

Future missions to the Moon
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) hopes that its Gaganyaan Mission will be successful in launching Indian astronauts into space paving the way for them to one day land on the Moon.


The US, the pioneers of exploration on the Moon, also their own mission pegged to launch in 2024. The $30 billion Artemis project is going to be the US’ first step towards building a Lunar Gateway — an outpost or moon base that will orbit the Moon and serve as a landing pad to and from the Moon’s surface — in addition to mining for resources on the surface.

According to the US government, Artemis will be the skeleton on which future manned missions — like a mission to Mars — will be built.

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