NASA to send first astronauts to Moon’s South Pole in 2024

NASA to send first astronauts to Moon’s South Pole in 2024

NASA's Artemis program aims to land American astronauts on the moon by 2024 and establish a sustainable human presence on Earth's natural satellite. Now, NASA wants to once again send people up there.

NASA Human Spaceflight chief Cathy Loders said the Artemis-1 system will last for about a month to test all important systems. The space race that culminated with the moon landing is one of the most cherished accomplishments of mankind (especially when you consider that they pulled it off with a small fraction of today's computing power).

But manned lunar missions may be catching a second wind.

In January, Congressman Kendra Horn, D-Okla., proposed a bill to urge NASA to consider a 2028 deadline for putting USA astronauts back on the moon in order to boost the space agency's long-term plans for crewed Mars exploration.

The plan is to use the same impetus as with the space race, but deploy innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before, and land the first woman and next man on the Moon.

The mission will use NASA's powerful new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), and the Orion spacecraft.

If all goes to plan, the official Artemis Phase IV mission will launch its very first woman astronaut and next man astronaut together to land on the Moon in 2024, to carry out experiments and gather information about our Moon.

The project also includes the development of new spacesuits and the development of new exploration technologies. This demonstration will assess Orion's handling qualities and related hardware and software to provide performance data and operational experience that can not be readily gained on the ground in preparation for rendezvous, proximity operations, and docking, as well as undocking operations in lunar orbit beginning on Artemis III.

Artemis I Moon Landing Scheduled for 2024 Crewless Missions in 2021
Artemis Mission. Source NASA

They will then go on to board the landing system to the surface of the moon, where the astronauts will conduct scientific experiments and collect samples over a period of nearly one week.

Then, by 2024, astronauts will travel some 240,000 miles to reach the Moon's shadowy south pole.

The US House of Representatives has already passed a bill allocating $ 600 million for the moon lander.

Speaking on Monday afternoon (US time), NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein said, "The $ 28 billion represents the costs associated with the next four years in the Artemis Lunar Landing Program".

"In its formal plan, NASA captures Artemis progress to date, identifying the key science, technology and human missions, as well as the commercial and global partnerships that will ensure we continue to lead in exploration and achieve our ambitious goal to land astronauts on the Moon", NASA said in a release. We're going back to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new a generation of explorers.

"As we build up a sustainable presence, we're also building momentum toward those first human steps on the Red Planet", he added. Phase 1 of the program as now envisioned calls for three flights to the moon by the end of 2024.

Nevertheless, Bridenstine remains optimistic that the project will gain political support. All those things that are part of the Artemis program.

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