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Artemis I Moon Mission

NASA launches yet another moon mission, taking another big leap forward, as told by News Section Editor, Olivia Chan.

Very soon, NASA will launch a series of Artemis missions on the Moon. Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight as a foundation for crewed Artemis II and beyond missions. Through further scientific experiments and discoveries on and around the Moon, NASA also hopes to eventually send the first astronauts to Mars. In addition to long-term discovery, Artemis missions hope to expand the economy by increasing the lunar industry, which in turn precipitates job growth. [1]

The mission has already been delayed three times in the past month due to technical issues and tumultuous weather. Subsequently, NASA has pushed the launch date to mid-late November. [2]

Artemis I Map

NASA aims to land its first woman and person of colour on the Moon in future missions where, by Artemis III, which will occur no earlier than 2025, NASA hopes to open pathways for companies to provide their own recurring Moon landing services. Accordingly, NASA currently has a contract with SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, which involves an uncrewed and crewed lunar landing demonstration as a part of Artemis III. [3]

There are six elements crucial to the Artemis missions: [4]

1. ‘Orion Spacecraft’: To transport astronauts to and from space

2. ‘Space Launch System Rocket’: The most powerful rocket in the world, which launches the Orion to space.

3. ‘Exploration Ground System’: Supports the launch and the recovery of returning astronauts.

4. ‘Gateway’: Remains in orbit as a structure for astronauts to transfer between the Orion and the landing system.

5. ‘Human Landing System’: A transport mechanism between lunar orbit to the Moon and back.

6. ‘Artemis Base Camp’: Supports the long-term project as astronauts have a place to live and work, including a modern lunar cabin, a rover, and a mobile home

From this, NASA hopes to create the Artemis Generation, a twinning take on the 1960 Apollo mission to revive a global interest in the lunar realm.

Artemis is led by the US, with participation by the European Space Agency and other friendly countries including Australia. Similarly, China and Russia are collaborating on their own Moon mission, planning to land humans in 2026 and construct a base by 2035. On a similar vein, UAE also plans to launch a lunar lander later this year, and India is constructing their own landers and lunar spaceflight program. This reflects a different type of Space Race from the Cold War; it is a race to mine resources from the moon as a new source for the economy. This comes after ‘water ice’ was discovered on the Moon, which suggests the existence of gases that can be used for fuel to use for spacecraft and bases. [5]

If Artemis is anything like Apollo, images from another Moon mission may bring environmental issues to the forefront again as a potential driver for more active conservation projects on Earth. When the Earth is put into perspective, projects to base humans away from our pea-sized planet raises awareness of the limited resources available on Earth…

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