By: Reed Morris
NASA is currently working on returning American astronauts to the Moon. The Artemis Program is the follow up to the Apollo missions that first landed Neil Armstrong on the moon. The primary goal of these upcoming missions is to learn more about the geology and history of the moon, as well as to start treating the moon as a passageway for the human race to reach much farther into space.
The first launch of the Artemis program will take place in mid May 2022. NASA is sending the new crew capsule ‘Orion’ on an unmanned test mission to circumnavigate the moon once and return to earth as a safety test.
Assuming the launching and return of the spacecraft is successful, the following mission will be essentially the same except it will have a crew on board. The final launches, will be manned missions to the surface of the moon to establish surface living bases, and finally give humans a strong foothold on the lunar surface.
The next big step will be the construction of ‘the Gateway’. The Gateway will essentially be a smaller version of the International Space Station, but it will be orbiting the Moon, as opposed to Earth. The Gateway will allow an extremely efficient and repeatable way to execute missions on the moon.
The station will have two main purposes. The first is that Astronauts will be able to live and work on the station, allowing more detailed exploration of the lunar surface from above, and secondly it will act as a gateway (hence the name) for astronauts traveling from Earth to the Moon and back.
Finally, by 2024, Artemis will have landed it’s first missions on the moon. These missions mark the beginning of mankind’s colonization of our solar system, and a huge leap forward for human based space exploration.