Friday, 21 February, 2020

NASA Spacecraft Ready for Artemis 1 Lunar Mission

Sandy Nunez | 23 July, 2019, 00:28

The Artemis program's objective is to conduct a series of manned and unmanned missions to the moon, using its surface as a proving ground for technologies that could lay the ground work for the longer and more complex missions to Mars as soon as 2033, Bridenstine has said.

NASA's new Artemis lunar operation is aimed at returning humans to Earth's satellite, following in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969 - but this time to set up camp, rather than just pay a flying visit.

It plans to establish a lunar orbiting platform, called a "Gateway", studying how living organisms react to the radiation and microgravity of a deep space environment over a long period, as it looks ahead to a crewed Mars mission in the 2030s.

Originally inspired by the US' Cold War rivalry with the Soviet Union, the mission is now remembered as an iconic moment for stargazers all over the world.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday announced the completion of NASA's Orion crew capsule for the first Artemis lunar mission.

A little over six hours later, at 10:56pm ET (0256 GMT Sunday), Armstrong placed his left foot on the Moon's surface, and said: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind".

One of the coolest artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission is actually located on the 2nd floor of the main gift shop-the gantry that the astronauts walked across before beginning the moon landing mission 50 years ago.

NASA has had this opportunity, off and on, presented and taken away from it for the past 15 years.

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The first stop on the lunar surface will be the South Pole region.

The plan will involve the recruitment of private companies and global partners, the construction of a lunar space station and manned landings at the Moon's south pole within five years. The announcement was made as part of the 50th Moon Landing Anniversary celebrations, which took place on July 20, 2019.

Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed mission, which means it won't have any passengers on board.

Collins, though, chimed in that he supported the idea of "Mars direct", referring going directly to Mars without first returning to the Moon.

He added: "The lessons learned on the Moon are directly transferable for going to Mars or setting up a base on an asteroid".

The issue came up again Friday, when Collins and Aldrin met with the president, vice president and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in the Oval Office.

"Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations", the directive said.