Recently, NASA has just shared an update on its Artemis mission, which aims to land the first woman on the moon in just four years. The space agency has reassured that the mission is still on track, with an unmanned launch set for 2021, before a manned launch in 2024.
It has been 52 years after man first stepped on the lunar surface and this will mark the first time that a woman has stepped on the moon.
NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine, said, “With bipartisan support from Congress, our 21st-century push to the Moon is well within America’s reach. As we’ve solidified more of our exploration plans in recent months, we’ve continued to refine our budget and architecture.”
“We’re going back to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers. As we build up a sustainable presence, we’re also building momentum toward those first human steps on the Red Planet,” he added.
NASA’s powerful new rocket – the Space Launch System (SLS) will be used to launch the lunar missions. It said that in 2021, the SLS will launch on a test flight around the moon with the Orion spacecraft without astronauts.
NASA will attempt to land on the lunar South Pole with a female astronaut taking the first step onto the surface in 2024.
The astronauts will be on the moon for seven days and collecting samples and also conduct a range of science experiments over the course. They will be returning to lunar orbit before heading back to Earth aboard Orion.
The focus now for NASA is the lunar Gateway – an orbiting station could serve as a pitstop for missions to the moon. It explained, “While NASA has not made a final decision to use the Gateway for Artemis III, Artemis IV and beyond will send crew aboard Orion to dock to the Gateway, where two crew members can stay aboard the spaceship in orbit while two go to the surface,”.
It continues, “Over time, the outpost will evolve, with new modules added by international partners, allowing crew members to conduct increasingly longer lunar missions,”.
Reported that NASA is also working on concepts for buildings on the moon, which could allow further expedition with more crew. It said the concept calls for an Artemis Base Camp that would include new rovers, power systems, habitats, and more on the surface for long-term exploration of the Moon.