Is NASA Going Back To The Moon? The Artemis Program Explained

NASA’s Artemis Program focuses on more than just returning to the Moon. Here’s how it can lead to the future of space exploration and commerce.

NASA‘s Artemis Program has big implications for the future of space exploration and commerce. While its initial focus would be the Moon, it will eventually lead to preparing mankind’s expansion to other planets, such as Mars and even beyond. Despite suffering from delays caused by a plethora of issues, the Artemis Missions are extremely ambitious and are a huge step in our exploration of the universe.

It’s been nearly 50 years since NASA last landed human crews on the Moon’s surface as part of its Apollo program. However, plans of revisiting the rocky terrain of Earth’s closest celestial body were once again reignited by its Artemis project, which started back in 2017. Using Apollo’s twin sister as inspiration, the Greek goddess Artemis, the initiative aims to not only return to the Moon, but establish an ongoing presence there. Given the program’s rather costly projected expenses, some might be wondering, what else does it hope to achieve outside of proving that we can indeed go back?


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For starters, the Orion spacecraft utilized in the Artemis missions are designed to take humans farther into space “than humanity has ever traveled before” in a mission that brings mankind “to worlds beyond,” according to NASA. The program will be divided into multiple missions. Artemis I involves an unmanned test flight that will send the Orion spacecraft to space using the world’s “most powerful rocket,” and stay there without ever docking to any space station for the longest period in history. Artemis II, on the other hand, will focus on sending four astronauts on a trip around the Moon and back, while testing spacecraft conditions, practicing mission directives and emergency protocols in the process. Artemis III will be the culmination of the first two test flights and aims to land the first woman and next man on the Moon, which will then lead to long-term sustainability, lunar exploration, and preparation for mankind’s historic trip to Mars.

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It’s no secret that NASA’s taking space industrialization very seriously, and its Artemis program is a big part of it. In fact, it’s already planning on developing a growing lunar economy with its proposed Artemis Base Camp, which hopes to put a more permanent human presence on the Moon. The program is basically using the Moon as a stepping stone towards humanity’s evolutionary next-step into space colonization.

NASA’s even cultivating the concept of what it deems as the “Artemis Generation” of people who will be learning to live outside of Earth. As for when all this takes place, the first Artemis mission is expected to launch in early 2022, with Snoopy as its guest crew mate, and will take roughly four to six weeks. The Artemis II mission is expected to launch on 2024, while Artemis III’s highly-anticipated lunar landing will be delayed to some time in 2025. Perhaps by then, NASA can finally crack some of the many mysteries surrounding the Moon.

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Source: NASA

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