NASA Artemis: the 2024 Moon Mission

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NASA Artemis: the 2024 Moon Mission

Citlalli Perez, News Editor

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Did you know NASA Space Station is planning for a 2024 moon launch? Well, NASA PLANS on staying on the moon for quite a while and hopes to soon bring humans along.

A small introduction on the moon. The moon can help us understand the development of our entire solar system. The surface of the moon is around 3.5 billion years old, and its many craters and scars tell the story of the environment of our solar system from that time onward. When the moon gets a crater, it remains unchanged for the rest of time.

If humans are planning on becoming an interplanetary species, with outposts on the moon and Mars, we’re going to have to learn to live in space. The moon, just a three-day journey away, is an ideal place to do that. We could also use resources on the moon such as water, trapped in ice.

The plan, as of earlier this year, was to build the Gateway (similar to a space station, which would be assembled piece by piece in prefabricated modules) and put it in orbit around the moon, around 2026. And like the ISS, NASA was hoping for international support and collaboration to build it.

NASA drafted plans with the impression they’d have a decade or so to put them together. On this timeline, NASA was eyeing a 2028 crewed mission to the surface of the moon. A few months ago, this all got mixed up.

In March of this year, Vice President Mike Pence gave NASA a new deadline: astronauts on the moon by 2024.

In order to actually fulfill the 2024 launch, NASA has a very long and pricy to-do-list that will need to be checked off. Some information on the to-do-list includes, actually finish building the Space Launch System (SLS for short), which has currently been under development since 2011 and was originally planned to be tested in 2017 but wasn’t. When complete, the SLS will be the largest, most powerful rocket ever built.

“I journey to the moon? Woah, by 2024, that’s pretty soon! I’ve always been intrigued with everything science related, so I’m excited to see what NASA comes up with as the final product. Never in a million years would I have thought humans might actually live on the moon, under the right condition of course, but at the rate we’re going at with global warming and climate change, we might actually need to live in space,” said Selena Hernandez (‘20).

Another critical part of the launch is the space capsule for the Moon journey, which is not finished. The Orion is a multipurpose vehicle to sit atop the SLS that will serve as the crew quarters for missions beyond low Earth orbit. It’s designed for the accommodation of four astronauts.

The Orion was announced in 2011 and has yet to be flown with a crew onboard. NASA is planning to test the launch abort system in July or this year, and maybe fly it robotically to the moon in 2020). It did perform an uncrewed flight test in 2014.

To summarize the NASA’s plans for a 2024 moon landing is this: Astronauts would ride aboard the Orion, on the SLS, and fly to the Gateway. Then, they would board a lunar descent craft, go down to the moon, conduct moon searching, collecting samples, and moon science, and return to the Gateway before the journey home.

The time in which it will take NASA to build everything that still needs to be completed is most likely we won’t be going to the moon in about 10 years. If we do want to make the journey, everything needs to be finalized and perfected.