NASA publishes its Artemis mission plan to make the moon a sustainable base

The first step in the plan marks the unmanned mission, called Artemis I, on the Moon in 2021.


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has published a detailed plan for its Artemis lunar exploration programme on 22 September. The plan is in line with the space agency’s vision of sending the first woman and the next man, on the Moon by 2024.

NASA aspires to study the Moon in great details and explore new areas by sending in astronauts. They aim to create sustainable missions by 2028 and finally take the “next giant leap” of sending a human to the surface of Mars.

 NASA publishes its Artemis mission plan to make the moon a sustainable base

This illustration made available by NASA in April 2020 depicts Artemis astronauts on the Moon. On Thursday, April 30, 2020, NASA announced the three companies that will develop, build and fly lunar landers, with the goal of returning astronauts to the moon by 2024. The companies are SpaceX, led by Elon Musk; Blue Origin, founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos; and Dynetics, a Huntsville, Ala., subsidiary of Leidos. (NASA via AP)

According to the official document open to the general public, the “Moon plan is twofold”. After its “initial human landing by 2024”, the work will be simultaneously carried out towards the “sustainable lunar exploration in the mid- to late 2020s”. NASA mentions that 2024 is not an arbitrary date but the most ambitious goal. The agency’s ultimate goal is to send the first manned mission to our neighbouring planet Mars. With “more countries and companies [taking] aim at the Moon, America needs the earliest possible landing to maintain and build on that leadership, as well as to prepare for a historic first human mission to Mars,” the body said in the plan.

The first step in the plan marks the unmanned mission, called Artemis I, on the Moon in 2021, said NASA in a press release. This will come after a ‘hot fire test’ is conducted on NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), and the Orion spacecraft. Following a successful hot-fire test, which is to be carried out this fall, the core stage will get integrated with the spacecraft. The American space agency will then launch an SLS and an Orion together on two flight tests around the Moon to “check performance, life support, and communication capabilities”. The second mission, Artemis II, will fly with the crew in 2023.

In 2024, Artemis III will roll out and will see the first astronauts on the lunar South Pole.


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