Not only SpaceX CEO Elon Musk but also the US space agency, believe that humans will be able to spend more time on the Moon this decade.
According to Howard Hu, NASA’s Orion lunar spacecraft programme manager, the Artemis missions “enable us to have a sustainable platform and transportation system that allows us to learn how to operate in that deep space environment.”
“We’re going to be sending people down to the surface and they’re going to be living on that surface and doing science,” Hu was quoted as saying in the report published on Sunday.
“It’s really going to be very important for us to learn a little bit beyond our Earth’s orbit and then take a big step when we go to Mars,” he added.
Orion continues on its path toward the Moon five days into the 25.5-day Artemis I mission.
The unmanned Orion has gone 232,683 miles from Earth and was 39,501 miles from the Moon as of Sunday, travelling at 371 miles per hour.
“It’s the first step we’re taking to long-term deep space exploration, for not just the United States but for the world,” Hu added.
“I mean, we are going back to the Moon, we’re working towards a sustainable programme and this is the vehicle that will carry the people that will land us back on the Moon again,” a NASA official explained.
The United States Space Administration launched its next-generation rocket into space this week as part of its ambitious, uncrewed Artemis I Moon mission, which had two failed attempts after years of delays and billions of dollars invested.
The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, carrying the Orion spacecraft into lunar orbit. The Orion will continue on to the Moon, where it will likely spend several days before returning to Earth on December 11.
NASA intends to launch the first crewed Moon landing since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972 in 2025. This includes the first woman and person of colour to walk on the Moon.
Artemis I will lay the groundwork for deep space human exploration and demonstrate NASA’s dedication and capabilities to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.
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