NASA’s new moon mission will bring science to several places in the solar system, a senior agency official said Wednesday (November 16).
Hours after the launch of Artemis 1, the larger Artemis program to return humans to the moon began, a NASA spokesman said the uncrewed mission, which launched at 1:47 am EST (0647 GMT), is a cornerstone in building the future . missions with people on board.
“Artemis 1 is the first in a series of increasingly complex lunar exploration missions in preparation for missions to Mars,” Kate Calvin, NASA chief scientist and senior climate advisor, said in a video interview with Space.com.
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Compared to the crewed lunar missions of the Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s, the Artemis program is designed for more scientific exploration and longer stays than even the three days that were longer, Calvin said. missions such as Apollo 17 at the end of the program.
“Science, we are using both humans and robots to learn more about the Moon in preparation for … other missions in the future,” she said, referring to both Artemis missions and manned efforts with other celestial destinations.
Calvin said that while Artemis 1 flies to the lunar regions, this mission will still benefit earth science. Science payloads and dummies aboard the Orion spacecraft will measure and evaluate radiation in cislunar space to study “crew and electronics impacts,” while other experiments and cubesats will collect photographs and biological measurements of living beings such as algae, seeds, fungi and yeast. .
According to Calvin, the practice of living off-Earth for long periods of time will also contribute to sustainability on our planet.
Related: Epic Artemis 1 rocket launch spotted in Earth’s atmosphere in satellite image
(Image credit: NASA TV)
Artemis 1 is followed by the manned mission Artemis 2, which will fly around the moon no earlier than 2024, and the landing mission Artemis 3, aimed at 2025 or 2026, provided that the debut goes according to plan.
“Every mission in Artemis gets more difficult,” Calvin said. “We’re very excited about this as we return to the Moon and Mars.”
Elizabeth Howell is co-author of Why Am I Taller? (will open in a new tab)? (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), space medicine book. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace. (will open in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (will open in a new tab) or facebook (will open in a new tab).