Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the Moon and an image of Buzz Aldrin’s bootprint from the Apollo 11 mission. Image Credit: NASA

“One giant leap for mankind … ” This past weekend, the world celebrated 50 years since the the first man stepped foot on the moon. In a BBC News report, “NASA marked the anniversary by streaming footage of the launch online, giving a new generation a chance to see the historic moment that was watched by half a billion people 50 years ago. At the moment the spacecraft landed, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong said: “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

According to NASA, “In the half-century since people visited the Moon, NASA has continued to push the boundaries of knowledge to deliver on the promise of American ingenuity and leadership in space. And NASA will continue that work by moving forward to the Moon with astronauts landing on the lunar South Pole by 2024.”

“NASA is going to the Moon with commercial and international partners to explore faster and explore more together. This work will bring new knowledge and opportunities and inspire the next generation. In going to the Moon, NASA is laying the foundation that will eventually enable human exploration of Mars. The Moon will provide a proving ground to test technologies and resources that will take humans to Mars and beyond, including building a sustainable, reusable architecture.”

Last November, following a 2017 Space Policy Directive signed by President Trump, NASA announced that nine US companies were eligible to bid on $2.6 billion in contracts over the next 10 years to deliver services to the moon. Architectural and engineering firms have been teaming up to bring forth their designs.

After creating a design challenge that began in 2015, NASA has announced the three top designs for shelters suitable for the Moon, Mars and — optimistically — beyond. New York-based Team SEArch+/Apis Cor won first place with their unique twisted structure, which comes dotted with small holes to let in natural light. The modular structures would be 3D printed by an autonomous rover. The competition is the latest development in NASA’s mission to send humans back to the moon and, eventually, to Mars.

Top Design by SEArch+/Apis For; Image credit: Business Insider

And outside of the contest, Inhabit reported in April that “Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) released designs for the first full-time human habitat on the lunar surface. Created in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT), the conceptual settlement — dubbed the “Moon Village” — outlines ways humans could live in an otherwise uninhabitable setting through self-sufficient means. Envisioned with a series of inflatable living modules, the Moon Village would not only harness resources for sustaining life and industrial activities, but would also be able to conduct research for sustaining life on terrestrial planets other than Earth.

SOM’s “Moon Village;” Image Credit: ArchDaily

So, are you ready to follow in the footsteps of the Apollo 11 crew and someday step foot or even live on the Moon?

Click HERE for a list of events surrounding the Apollo’s 50th Anniversary.

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