Argument: There is much more to be discovered on/about the Moon
Richard Hollingham. "Why go back to the Moon?" BBC. July 19, 2009: "Unfinished business. One thing that often gets forgotten in any assessment of Apollo tends to be the science. As well as gathering all that rock, every lunar mission carried scientific experiments.
'Apollo has a wonderful scientific legacy,' said Greg Schmidt, the deputy director of Nasa's Lunar Science Institute. 'The samples that Apollo brought back are still being analysed and we're still learning new things from these. 'They were absolutely crucial in enabling us to understand a lot about the Moon. After Apollo, we came up with the hypothesis that's currently accepted of the Moon's formation: how the Moon was formed by the impact with the Earth of a Mars-sized object, out of which came the Moon.'
But Apollo barely scratched the lunar surface and, from a purely scientific point of view, there's a lot we don't know about the Moon.
It's far more than a dead lump of rock, with its complex geology and regular Moonquakes. Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, for instance, wants to know what lies beneath the dust.
He's keen to see a network of seismic instruments to investigate the Moon's interior geology. 'We had a seismic network which the Apollo astronauts set up 40 years ago but that only gave us a tantalising hint of knowledge,' Spudis told the BBC. 'Ideally, what you want is a global network of seismometers on the Moon.'
That word 'tantalising' is one you'll hear a lot from lunar geologists - although we can see the Moon every night, we still don't know what it's made of and have yet to prove categorically how it got there.
Other scientists are eager to study lunar impacts - working out how often the Moon gets hit by lumps of space rock will help us assess how much at risk we are on Earth."