US Private Spaceship Lands on Moon
FILE- Picture shows the moon's surface taken by the Russian moonprobe Luna 9, Feb. 4, 1966. The pictures for the first time enable scientists to analyze the microstructure of the moon's surface. The picture was released by the radio telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, England, which picked up Luna 9's signals. (AP Photo/File)

US Private Spaceship Lands on Moon

February 23rd, 2024

A spaceship from the United States has made it to the moon. It landed safely. But it is not sending strong signals back to Earth. People from only five countries have done this before. This is the first time a private company in the U.S. has done it. Long ago, the country called the Soviet Union was the first to land on the moon. Then, the United States did it too. America had astronauts walk on the moon. That happened between 1969 and 1972. America wants to send people to the moon again soon. Other countries have also gone to the moon. China sent a rover they called Jade Rabbit. They got some moon rocks and sent them back to Earth. Russia tried to go to the moon, but their spaceship crashed. India also made it to the moon with their spaceship. Japan landed a craft on the moon. It sent pictures back before it stopped working. Some spaceships did not make it. There were crashes. Two companies from the United States are trying more moon trips. They want to take things to the moon for NASA. NASA is America's space group. They help make these trips happen. The United States is competing with China and other countries in space. China wants to send their people to the moon too. These moon trips are made by businesses. They are not just made by countries. Everyone wants to learn more about the moon. They want to find water and other important things there.
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💭 Discussion Questions

. What did the spaceship from the United States do?
. Which country was the first to land on the moon?
. What do companies want to find on the moon?

📖 Vocabulary

🌐 Cultural context

The United States has a space program called NASA. It sent people to the moon in the past. Now, American companies are also going to the moon. Other countries like China and Russia are interested in the moon too. They all explore space.

🧠 Further reading

Exploration of the Moon
A long time ago, people could only look at the Moon from Earth. They used their eyes at first and then telescopes. A man named Galileo Galilei made his own telescope a long time ago, in 1609. He saw mountains and holes on the Moon. Much later, a group from a country called the Soviet Union sent a space thing called Luna 2 to the Moon. It hit the Moon on September 14, 1959. This was the first time we touched the Moon without being there. Then, people from a group called NASA went to the Moon. The first time was in 1969. Two men named Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed there. They left things on the Moon and brought back rocks to Earth. They went to the Moon six times. In 2019, a robot from China landed on a part of the Moon where it is always dark. It is called Chang'e 4. The robot is named Yutu-2. And, in 2023, a robot from India landed on a place called the South Pole of the Moon. The India robot is called Pragyan. Long before this, a man named Anaxagoras thought the Sun and Moon were big rocks. He said the Moon's light comes from the Sun. Another man, named Plutarch, wrote a book. He said the Moon has dark spots that are shadows. He even thought maybe people lived on the Moon. A man named Aristarchus tried to guess how big the Moon is and how far away it is. His guess was not exact, but he tried.

Space industry of India
India is a country that has a big space group. The main space group is called ISRO. There are also more than 500 other groups that help with space work. These groups do many things like research and business in space. Not many space groups in India are alone; they work with ISRO. But now, there are more groups working alone in space work. In 2019, the space work in India was worth $7 billion. It gave jobs to more than 45,000 people. A group called Antrix Corporation says this could grow to $50 billion if the right support is given. In 2021, India made a new group called ISpA. This new group helped more private groups and new small companies to work in space. Some big companies joined this new group. A man named Lieutenant General Anil Kumar Bhatt is in charge of ISpA. India started doing space work a long time ago. They launched small space machines from a place called Thumba in Thiruvananthapuram. Then they made bigger space machines that could go very high and carry big things into space. Some private companies helped by making parts for these space machines. By 2019, India had sent more than 300 space machines for other countries. In early 2021, there were more than 40 small new companies in India making their own space machines and satellites.

Space competition
People make a contest to go to space. They say, "If you can make a space ship and go to space two times in two weeks, you win $10,000,000." A man named Burt Rutan made a space plane and won the money on October 4, 2004. There is a new contest to send a robot to the moon. If the robot goes on the moon for 500 meters and sends videos, the team wins $20,000,000. If they do more things, like go very far or find ice, they can win more money. Another contest is about going around the Earth in space. The winner will get $50,000,000 if they build a space ship that can be used many times. The person who made this contest owns hotels.