How the US wants to go back to the Moon (before it aims for Mars)

How the US wants to go back to the Moon (before it aims for Mars)

Maxar Technologies / Bulletin / Reuters On Monday, August 29, the Artemis 1 rocket will lift off from Florida. A first step in a long process that should lead NASA to set foot on the moon again before targeting Mars (photo taken Aug. 25 by satellite imagery).

Maxar Technologies / Bulletin / Reuters

On Monday, August 29, the Artemis 1 rocket will lift off from Florida. A first step in a long process that should lead NASA to set foot on the moon again before targeting Mars (photo taken Aug. 25 by satellite imagery).

Space – This is the first phase of a massive project that will take place on Monday, August 29th in Cape Canaveral, Florida, with take off Artemis mission 1. Because Artemis is the name of the American program for Back to the moonone of the main priorities of NASA for decades to come.

His name was chosen in response to the programme Apolloafter taking the twelve men who ever walked on the moon, between 1969 and 1972. Artemis, in Greek mythology, is the twin sister of Apollo (” Apollo in English) and a goddess associated with the moon.

After taking off on Monday, the idea is to send first wife And the first colored person on the moon, then preparing – the goal – The first trip to Mars. HuffPost It measures these missions of increasing difficulty that signal the entry of a new era of space conquest.

  • Artemis’ first voyage

Taking off on Monday, you should experience the Artemis 1 mission without a crew NASA’s new giant rocket, dubbed the SLS, as well as the Orion capsule installed in the upper part. The goal is to make sure they can safely transport astronauts into the future.

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Orion will orbit the Moon before returning to Earth.

Then, in 2024, Artemis 2 will carry astronauts to the Moon, but without landing there, as Apollo 8 did in 1968. Crew composition should be announced by the end of the year. We already know that a Canadian will be a part of it, and thus will become the first Canadian citizen to go into deep space.

  • 2025 or 2026 before landing on the moon again?

This third mission can be compared to Apollo 11 (July 1969) because it would be the first in the program to land astronauts on the Moon. They are expected to arrive for the first time at the south pole of the moon, where the presence of water in the form of ice has been confirmed, and not so close to the equator as happened on Apollo.

Artemis 3 is officially set for 2025, but according to an independent public audit, it should already be in 2026 “at the earliest”. From Artemis 3, NASA wants to launch about one mission each year.

To do this, NASA chose SpaceX private company To concretely build the Artemis 3 probe, this lander will travel between the Orion capsule and the lunar surface: once it reaches lunar orbit, the capsule will dock with the spacecraft, which is sent separately upstream, which will then be responsible for lowering the astronauts to the surface and then re-ascend them. And then they’ll return aboard Orion to Earth.

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This landing will be a copy of the ship.” Starship ”, which has so far only conducted sub-orbital tests. To reach Earth’s orbit, it must be powered by an “ultra-heavy” first-stage rocket, which is also under development.

And before he can go to the moon, he will have to refuel by refueling directly in space from another “spacecraft”, previously filled with fuel. Risky transport that has not been tested before. To continue the Artemis program, NASA has launched a new call for bids with other companies to develop additional landing craft.

  • A space station that aims even further

The Artemis program also includes building a station in lunar orbit called Gateway.

The first two components (housing unit and payment system) are scheduled to be launched at the end of 2024 at the earliest and will be done by for the Falcon Heavy missile. from SpaceX.

The following units will be launched by the SLS at the same time with Orion and its crew responsible for assembling them at their destination. The astronauts will stay there between 30 and 60 days. Eventually, a lander will be docked there to allow it to descend to the Moon from the station. The portal will also serve as a stopover before future trips to Mars.

  • Ultimate goal: Mars

Because, paradoxically, the star at the heart of Artemis is not the Moon, but Mars.

So, NASA wants to test, thanks to the Artemis program, the technologies needed to send the first humans to the Red Planet: new kits, a vehicle for navigation, a small power plant, the use of lunar water, etc.

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It is envisaged to establish a base on the moon. The idea is to learn how to establish a permanent human presence in deep space, but not too much. In the event of a problem, the moon is only a few days away. March for at least a few months.

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