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NASA's Artemis project in pics: Why this Moon mission is unique

By Vishal S
|

New Delhi, Oct 26: NASA's Artemis program has multiple objectives including sending first woman to Moon. Another key objective is to demonstrate new technologies, capabilities, and business approaches needed for future exploration of Mars, and maybe beyond.

The agency will fly two missions around the Moon to test its deep space exploration systems. NASA is working toward launching Artemis 1 in 2020, an uncrewed flight to test the SLS and Orion spacecraft together. Artemis 2, the first SLS and Orion flight with crew, is targeted for launch in 2022. NASA will land astronauts on the Moon by 2024 on the Artemis 3 mission and about once a year thereafter, according to nasa.gov.in.

Artemis program timeline

Artemis program timeline

Artemis lunar exploration program will use innovative new technologies and systems to explore more of the Moon than ever before. NASA will collaborate with commercial and international partners to establish sustainable missions by 2028. And then we will use what we learn on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap - sending astronauts to Mars. (Text and image courtesy - www.nasa.gov.in)

NASA’s new rocket Space Launch System (SLS)

NASA’s new rocket Space Launch System (SLS)

NASA's powerful new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), will send astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft a quarter million miles from Earth to lunar orbit. Astronauts will dock Orion at the Gateway where they will live and work around the Moon. The crew will take expeditions from the Gateway to the surface of the Moon in a new human landing system before returning to the orbital outpost. Crew will ultimately return to Earth aboard Orion. (Text and image courtesy - www.nasa.gov.in)

VIPER rover on lunar surface

VIPER rover on lunar surface

NASA is sending a mobile robot to the South Pole of the Moon to get a close-up view of the location and concentration of water ice in the region and for the first time ever, actually sample the water ice at the same pole where the first woman and next man will land in 2024 under the Artemis program.

NASA's Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, is a mobile robot that will roam around the Moon's south pole looking for water ice. The VIPER mission will give us surface-level detail of where the water is and how much is available for us to use. This will bring the American Space agency a significant step closer towards the ultimate goal of a sustainable, long-term presence on the Moon - making it possible to eventually explore Mars and beyond.

About the size of a golf cart, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, will roam several miles, using its four science instruments - including a 1-meter drill - to sample various soil environments. Planned for delivery to the lunar surface in December 2022, VIPER will collect about 100 days of data that will be used to inform the first global water resource maps of the Moon. (Text and image courtesy - www.nasa.gov.in)

Space suits for Artemis program

Space suits for Artemis program

The Artemis program will make use of two space suits: the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU),[59] and the Orion Crew Survival System (OCSS).

The xEMU is for use on the lunar surface, with an endurance of up to eight hours. The suit has movable joints and a bearing to allow for movement of the waist. Audio microphones and speakers are located inside the helmet, instead of using the traditional "Snoopy cap". The astronaut enters the suit from between the backpack and the rest of the suit; zippers, which were an issue with the Apollo suits, were excluded.

The OCSS is to be worn inside the Orion spacecraft during launch and re-entry, in case of a depressurization emergency. The outer layer of the suit is orange to allow for visibility in the ocean if astronauts need to exit the spacecraft without any assistance from recovery personnel. The suit includes enhanced shoulder joints for better range of reach, and greater fire resistance. (Text and image courtesy - www.nasa.gov.in)

Where does Artemis mean?

Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology. Now, she personifies our path to the Moon as the name of NASA's program to return astronauts to the lunar surface by 2024, including the first woman and the next man. When they land, our American astronauts will step foot where no human has ever been before: the Moon's South Pole.

(Text and image courtesy - www.nasa.gov.in)

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