What is Project Artemis?
As most of you know, NASA landed the first man on the moon in the late 1960s, with the last lunar mission taking place in 1972. As such, mankind hasn’t walked on the moon for more than five decades, an extremely absurd amount of time when you consider how far we could’ve come if we only continued to pursue space exploration ever since then.
Fortunately, all of this will soon change with NASA’s Artemis Program, through which humans will once again step on the Moon, and hopefully, bring forth a new era for mankind. Currently, Artemis is comprised of three major missions:
- Artemis 1: Unmanned test flight of NASA’s brand new SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft.
- Artemis 2: Manned operation in which the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft will fly past the Moon, go around it, and return to Earth.
- Artemis 3: The SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft will carry a crew to land on the Moon. Notably, the crew will include the first female astronaut to step on it.
Through Artemis, NASA will investigate and study the Moon in much more detail compared to the 1960s and 1970s. For instance, NASA astronauts will search for water on the Moon, study its secrets, and learn how to live in its environment. Furthermore, it will also serve as preparation for the eventual missions to Mars, the next milestone in space exploration.
The Space Launch System, Orion, and Gateway
In order to successfully go through with Artemis, NASA has built the most powerful rocket in the whole world: the Space Launch System (SLS). Along with this, NASA has also developed the Orion spacecraft, which will be carried by the SLS into orbit. On its way to its destination, Orion will be docked at a small spaceship known as the Gateway, serving as a point of preparation for missions to the Moon and, later on, the beyond. On March 17, 2022, NASA displayed the SLS for the first time in Florida.
Above all, the Moon will serve as a testing ground for missions to Mars. Here, novel technologies will be put to the test in order to gauge whether they will be useful on the red planet. In addition to this, NASA hopes to demonstrate that the Moon will one day be able to be inhabited for long periods of time. Further, as with past space exploration missions, NASA will most likely be required to develop new technologies, which will eventually reach the public, making our lives better and easier.