Everything about the return of man to the moon

No one has set foot on the moon since Jean Sarnan and Harrison Smith in 1972. NASA aims to change that with its ambitious Artemis program. Here’s what you need to know about the various upcoming missions.

What is Project Artemis?

Artemis is the program that promises to revive the lunar man-made exploration. This time, of course, NASA is planning a construction Permanent presence On and around our satellites. Long-term goals include building a first station in lunar orbit, as well as several base camps on the surface.

Commercial and international partners will be involved, including the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Why is NASA returning to the moon?

According to NASA, the purpose of this return to the moon is to propagate New scientific discovery, To study the potential economic benefits and to inspire a “new generation of adventurers”. In fact, we still have a lot to learn about satellites, starting with the nature of their source or their geochemical structure. Artemis can also make way Moon MarketingBe it space tourism or exploitation of rare earth elements and resources like helium-3.

Eventually, so will the Artemis program Mars from Springboard. The technology and lessons learned during this mission should actually allow NASA and its partners to launch a manned mission to the Red Planet by the end of the 2030s.

What technology is needed for Artemis?

NASA and its private and public partners are developing a number of new technologies. The Orion spacecraftWhich will take astronauts to the moon, is already being created, e.g. Space launch system From NASA (SLS), a 98-meter-long behemoth is expected to launch Orion into space. This huge rocket still has to go through some basic tests before its first departure.

Other core technologies included Two landers A variety of moons, including one developed by SpaceX New adjustment Lunar spacecraft known as xEMU, a Pressure Moon RoverA Station in lunar orbit (Mentioned above) and lots of ground scanning systems.

NASA’s space launch system on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA / Joel Kowski

How much is it going to cost?

The November 15, 2021 Inspector General audit found that $ 40 billion had already been spent on the program. NASA is also expected to spend the total $ 93 billion by the end of 2025. The first four launches will cost about $ 4.1 billion each.

Has NASA chosen its astronauts?

The agency has not yet released the names of the astronauts participating in the Artemis mission, but we do know that several names are on paper. The first crew Artemis mission will not be until 2024. So we have to wait a little longer to know who will be involved and what role they will play.

When will Artemis 1 happen?

No specific date has been set yet, but the mission could take place later this year. For this flight, an Orion spacecraft Inhuman Will travel to the moon, orbit twice, and return to Earth. Its main purpose will be to verify the effectiveness of rockets and capsules.

The space available in the cabin will also be occupied by the various mannequins responsible for Measurement of radiation exposure levels A male and female crew outside the Earth’s magnetic field.

Capsule Orio SLS NASA Artemis
Artist impressions of the Orion Artemis I spacecraft and its ESA-designed service module. Credit: NASA

When will Artemis 2 and 3 be?

The Artemis 2 mission will be the same as the first With a human crew Also. So there will be a question of going to the moon without landing before returning to earth. This mission should be performed now In early May 2024.

The actual return of humans to the lunar soil will be as part of Artemis 3, currently observed In early 2025. For this mission, one man and one woman Will land near the South Pole Ride the SpaceX Starship. They will spend about a week there. If all goes according to plan, a pressure-free rover and other equipment will be delivered to the ground before the mission. At least Four outputs As planned, the search for water ice is given priority.

What do we know about Artemis 4 and 5?

Artemis 4 is currently scheduled for 2026. Four astronauts will start the journey Station in lunar orbit. The mission will provide i-Hub accommodation modules designed by the European Space Agency. The latter will eventually serve as the main abode of astronauts while they are on the station. No ground landing was planned during this mission.

Artemis 5 is expected to launch a year later. The idea is to send four astronauts to the station in lunar orbit Deploy two surface crewsStill in the South Pole.

Note that Artemis Mission 6-11 is still in the proposal stage, so we don’t know exactly when they will launch or what they will do.

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