Eugene Shoemaker’s dreams may soon come true. In the 1960s, this famous astronomer wanted to be an astronaut, but he became a researcher instead. In 1997, just before he was killed in a road accident, he said: “The biggest disappointment in my life is that I haven’t been to the Moon.” Thanks to his university colleagues, this may happen soon. This year, the spacecraft Lunar Prospector will be sent to the moon. And in the spacecraft are the ashes1 of Eugene Shoemaker, who was born in 1928 and who died in 1997.
Shoemaker was a dreamer. He believed that human beings would one day live on the Moon and he devoted his life to its study. But, in the 1970s, the United States stopped sending astronauts there. However, in 1994 a satellite detected possible evidence of ice in a crater at the Moon’s South Pole. The news shocked the world: “There could be water on the Moon!” So, the United States built the Lunar Prospector, a big, expensive spacecraft that will look for signs of minerals, gases and water on the Earth’s satellite.
“If we find sufficient water, the Moon could be colonised in a few years”, said Bill Feldman, of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. “Water will support life on the moon. It will make trips to other planets possible because hydrogen will be used as fuel for rockets2.”
Who will be as brave as to build a home on the moon? Who will be the first one to open a business there? Nobody knows who the first moon colonisers will be, but we now know one thing for sure: Eugene Shoemaker will be the first one to be on the Moon. The Lunar Prospector will take his ashes there soon. “This is very important to us”, said his wife, Carolyn, “because we will always know when we look at the moon that Eugene is there, waiting for us”.
1 ashes: cendres2 rocket: coet
Answer the following questions according to the information in the text “Dreaming of the moon”.
1. What caused Eugene Shoemaker’s death?
2. Why was the world shocked in 1994?
3. If there is water on the moon, two things will be easier. Which ones?
4. Which of the following sentences (a, b or c) summarises the text best?
a) A recent discovery reveals that maybe soon human beings will be able to colonise the moon and travel to other planets by using the moon’s resources.b) Eugene Shoemaker will be the first man to colonise the moon and to travel to other planets thanks to the possible existence of water on this satellite.c) Thanks to Eugene Shoemaker’s discovery, very soon people will be able to travel safely to the moon and even start businesses there.