Back to the Moon for Good reviews the overall timeline of moon exploration beginning in 1959 and carrying us through to present day. Tim Allen narrates this informative short documentary, comprised primarily of illustrative motion graphics that aid the viewer in imagining the moonscapes and missions being described.
In the 1950s the United States found itself in competition with the Soviet Union to be at the forefront of space exploration; however, when the Apollo 17 mission returned to Earth in December of 1972 it saw the conclusion of the Apollo exploration program, essentially ending the space race and marking the last manned moon visit to date. Where we once obtained information directly from the lunar surface, we now use unmanned data collection tools that work from within the moon's orbit. It is through these technologies we have discovered the presence of water on the moon, as well as other mineral resources such as iron, aluminum, gold and platinum.
In 2007 Google announced the launch of their Lunar XPRIZE, a $30 million incentive to stimulate a new generation of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs into investigating the moon's resource potential. No governments are allowed in the competition and all teams must be 90% privately held. In order to keep costs down, many participants are involved on a voluntary basis. Unlike the "two player" American/Russian conflict of decades past, 30 teams initially entered Google's modern day space race.
In a break from the animated footage, representatives from different teams share some of the key ideas behind their proposed designs, explaining their techniques for entering the moon's orbit and relaying information back to Earth. Although surface rovers are a common design, there are some exceptions - Penn State's team has proposed an all-inclusive spacecraft that would instead fly to the moon, hover over the surface to collect data, and then return to Earth.
Back to the Moon for Good expresses a confidence that these advances in lunar technology will result in a resurgence of manned lunar exploration for the first time in over forty years, both to mine resources and potentially drive us towards further journeys into space.