Mankind has always been fascinated with exploring the Moon, and that will probably always be the case. At first, in the time leading up to the famous first moon landing in 1969, the goal was simply to reach the moon, and spend a short time looking around, and return to earth safely. Now, 50 years later, the goal is more ambitious since technology can support so much more. The first objective today is to reach the moon, and stay there. The next goal would be to use the moon as a landing pad to support exploration of things beyond the moon, most notably Mars. The NASA Artemis Missions will be the way these objectives are accomplished.
The Artemis Mission is comprised of six projects which together will allow NASA to accomplish its goals of reaching the moon, staying on the moon for long term exploration, and getting closer to the ultimate goal of being able to send men and women beyond the moon. The six projects include:
Ground Systems – Upgrading Earth ground systems to support the larger rockets which will be needed
Space Launch System – The new and more powerful rocket that will launch man toward the moon and beyond
Orion – The spacecraft that will bring astronauts to the moon’s orbit, and return them to earth from the moon’s orbit
Gateway – The outpost spacecraft which will orbit the moon and be living quarters for the astronauts when they are not on the moon surface
Lunar Landers – The spacecraft which will transfer astronauts between the Gateway and the moon Surface, and
Space Suits – The new and improved suits that the astronauts will need to carry out their mission.
The timeline for this mission has three major milestones, namely:
Artemis I – an unmanned flight to test the Space Launch System and Orion
Artemis II – a manned flight to test the Space Launch System and Orion
Artemis III – A manned flight to the moon that will return man to the moon.
Artemis I, the mission whose goal was an unmanned flight of Orion to the moon, is now in progress. So far, the mission has been wildly successful. The Launch was flawless in mid-November, showing the advanced capabilities of the Space Launch System. Orion reached the moon on November 25 without any issues and has been orbiting the moon since then. On December 1, 2022, Orion will start its trip back to earth.
As of December 1, 5681 pounds of propellant have been used, a bit less than scientists had expected.
The trip back to earth will have include more tests than had originally been planned, and indication that NASA scientists are feeling good about the trip.
This is a truly ambitious mission, and an even more ambitious schedule for missions that follow.
ATI offers a plethora of courses which relate to Space exploration. Check out our list of Space related courses here. If you are interested in the legal aspects of Space exploration, you can express interest in our Astropolitics Seminar which will be offered in conjunction with the 2023 Space Symposium.
Although the author thinks Space Exploration is exciting and important, and I fully endorse all of the goals of the Artemis Mission, I can’t help but wonder why the Government is not spending at least as much money on exploration of the deep oceans. I would challenge the US to start investing more money in Ocean Exploration, but not at the expense of Space Exploration. Both are important. I am curious what readers think about this issue, please leave your comments below.
And, if you are interested in Ocean Exploration, ATI has a few courses which may be of interest to you too. Please check out our full list of offerings here.
And if you simply want to learn more about the Artemis Mission, you can go to the NASA Artemis site that describes the mission in more detail.