With the recent success of the Artemis rocket, a top NASA official has speculated that humans may be able to permanently settle on the Moon by the end of the decade.
Artemis 1 launched successfully on Wednesday from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center after several unsuccessful attempts earlier in the year.
The Orion moon spacecraft, which is being carried by the Artemis rocket, is staffed with a manikin, a mimic of the human body designed to assess the effects of flying on the body.
The Orion program manager, Howard Hu, discussed the objective to establish settlements on the Moon by 2030 in an interview with Laura Kuenssberg of the BBC.
According on how long they remain on the surface, he predicted that humans would live for varying lengths of time in this decade. They will have dwellings and rovers on the ground.
We are planning to send people down to the surface, where they will live and conduct scientific research.
He said, “This is the first step towards long-term deep space exploration, not just for the United States but for the whole of humanity.”
“I believe that today is significant not just for NASA but also for all of us who are passionate about human spaceflight and deep space exploration.
“I mean, we’re returning to the Moon, we’re working on a sustainable program, and this is the vehicle that will take the crew when we arrive back on the Moon,” the speaker said.
The Lunar Gateway, a new space station where astronauts would be able to live and work, will be built as part of the Artemis program, which is named after the Greek goddess of the moon and sister of the deity Apollo, namesake of NASA’s first lunar landings.
He indicated that the gateway would serve as an orbiting station and staging area for lunar missions.
He said that the moon missions were a preliminary step to sending people to Mars.
It will be crucial to get knowledge outside of our Earth orbit, Mr. Hu said. “Moving ahead is actually to Mars, it is a larger stepping stone, a two-year mission.”
The mission is anticipated to take 25 days, which will include the outward transit, the trip around the moon, and the satellite deployment. The mission will then transit the moon again on the way back before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean in December.