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Why NASA is Going Back to the Moon – Almost fifty years after the last Apollo mission, NASA is starting a new lunar mission. The goal: to put people on the moon again, but now as an intermediate step for manned space travel to Mars.

Why NASA is Going Back to the Moon

Artemis I, as the first mission in the new moon program is called, is an unmanned space trip to the moon. It’s the dress rehearsal for future manned missions. During this first mission, the lunar rocket (the Space Launch System, SLS for short) and the Orion spacecraft will be tested (see image below).

The mission will last a total of 25 days and will begin today with the launch of the SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft on top. This space shuttle is suitable for transporting people, but has three dummies of people on board during the first mission. The dummies are named Helga, Moonikin and Zohar.

Why NASA is Going Back to the Moon

The SLS rocket is used to launch the Orion spacecraft into space. In space, Orion undocks from the launcher, heads for the moon, and arrives there six days later. The Orion spacecraft will be placed in orbit around the moon at an altitude of 97 kilometers and will continue to orbit it for six days.

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On day sixteen of the mission, Orion begins its return journey to Earth. Using parachutes, the flight should end with a splash on December 11 in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego, on the west coast of the United States.

Why NASA is Going Back to the Moon

To the moon and then to Mars

The Artemis program goes beyond the manned lunar missions of the late 1960s and early 1970s (known as the Apollo program and from Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon). For that program, astronauts have performed lunar walks and rides in a lunar rover, among other things.

NASA said in 2019 that they want to build a permanently manned base on the moon by 2028. The knowledge gained in this way should contribute to manned space travel to Mars.

Manned lunar missions from 2024

If this first Artemis mission is a success, it will pave the way for the second mission in the Artemis program. It is scheduled for May 2024. During this mission, four astronauts will make a ten-day space trip and fly around the moon.

The third Artemis mission is planned for 2025. During this mission, astronauts, including a woman, will set foot on the moon for the first time in more than fifty years.

Why NASA is Going Back to the Moon
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Why NASA is Going Back to the Moon

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