Exeter, Devon UK • Apr 24, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Science Artemis: We’re going back to the moon

Artemis: We’re going back to the moon

Benedict Thompson discusses the recent news that NASA are planning to return to the moon, why we haven't been back for 50 years and what this new mission could mean for the future of humanity
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Artemis: We’re going back to the moon

Image: Pixabay

Benedict Thompson discusses the recent news that NASA are planning to return to the moon, why we haven’t been back for 50 years and what this new mission could mean for the future of humanity

Houston, we have a problem 

It was 1972 when NASA last launched a rocket to the Moon.  Ironically, the amount of money involved in sending a rocket to the moon is astronomical, and stands at around $450 million. NASA’s budget has decreased from 1967 to 2017 from just over 4 percent of fiscal budget to 0.5 percent. Many argue that money spent on space is a luxury item, and that this money should be going towards global problems on earth such as poverty and climate change. However, the benefits from NASA’s exploration for humanity has been numerous in recent years.  The way we navigate, the way we produce food is all down to the data produced by satellites, which the US has shared all around the world.  

NASA’s satellites have also been able to detect natural disaster situations, saving lives and money spent on AID, such as in Uganda in 2007 when flood victims received telecommunication links. 

Donald Trump proposed to raise NASA’s budget to $25.2 billion, an increase of 125 over the current year’s funding. This included an extra $3.3 billion for NASA’s Artemis mission. 

Donal Trump proposed to raise NASA’s budget to $25.2 billion

The dream is alive 

According to NASA, it is “going back to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers”. They are aiming to “build a global alliance and explore deep space for the benefit of all” rather than simply landing on the Moon and returning to earth, the Artemis mission involves staying on the moon and exploring the possibility of establishing bases on the Moon’s surface. 

The Orion spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world, and will be sent on a 42 day mission to, and beyond, the Moon. The mission involves ten small sized satellites called CubeSats, which will break away from the Orion spacecraft, heading towards the moon. They will conduct a range of science experiments to collect data. Artemis I mission manager stated, “This is a mission that truly will do what hasn’t been done and learn what isn’t known. It will blaze a trail that people will follow on the next Orion flight, pushing the edges of the envelope to prepare for that mission.” The ascent will be breathtaking. The Orion will produce 8.8 million pounds of thrust during liftoff and will be propelled by a pair of five segment boosters and four RS-25 engines. The rocket will reach the period of greatest atmospheric force within ninety seconds. 

The Orion will produce 8.8 million pounds of thrust during liftoff and will be propelled by a pair of five segment boosters

Beyond the moon 

Mars and Earth re only aligned once every 26 months, meaning that if humans were eventually able to land on Mars, they would have to be there for extremely long periods of time. Artemis I is therefore the proving ground for NASA’s agenda, allowing them to prove their capabilities and utilise resources from another world. Future missions are currently being planned through to Artemis IX. By this stage, human habitats and life support systems should be ready for astronauts to use. Artemis I will not only add to the satisfaction of NASA’s long and impressive history, but excite humanity for what the future has to bring. 

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