<div class="article-block article-text" data-behavior="newsletter_promo dfp_article_rendering " data-dfp-adword="Advertisement" data-newsletterpromo-text="Sign up for Scientific American’s free newsletters.
” data-newsletterpromo-image=”https://static.scientificamerican.com/sciam/cache/file/458BF87F-514B-44EE-B87F5D531772CF83_source.png” data-newsletterpromo-button-text=”Sign Up” data-newsletterpromo-button-link=”https://www.scientificamerican.com/page/newsletter-sign-up/?origincode=2018_sciam_ArticlePromo_NewsletterSignUp” name=”articleBody” itemprop=”articleBody”>
The first nation beyond those two to shoot for the moon was Japan, which sent the successful Hiten probe in 1990 to fly by our natural satellite and release the lunar orbiter Hagoromo. Europe, China and India have since joined the club, and Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL aimed to become the first private organization to land a spacecraft on the lunar surface this past April but ultimately failed. Despite its tantalizing proximity, the moon is still just out of reach for most.