Humans Will Live on the Moon Within a Decade, Says NASA
In a recent program, NASA officials revealed that humans could well be living and working on the surface of the Moon within the next decade.
This revelation followed the long-awaited launch of NASA’s Artemis 1 spacecraft on Wednesday. The launch was postponed twice in September following Hurricane Ian and a liquid hydrogen leak.
Onboard Artemis was the Orion spacecraft, a key component in the mission to get astronauts back on the Moon. Orion is designed to take humans farther than ever before, serving as the exploration vehicle for deep space. The spacecraft provides emergency abort capabilities, can sustain the crew during space travel, and even provides safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.
On Monday, Orian flew 81 miles above the Moon’s surface at 5,102 mph. Experts are verifying whether the spacecraft will work as planned, allowing them to make adjustments before the Artemis II mission, scheduled to launch circa 2024. If all goes smoothly, Orion, along with a SpaceX vehicle, will land astronauts on the Moon’s surface.
“The mission continues to proceed as we had planned, and the ground systems, our operations teams, and the Orion spacecraft continue to exceed expectations, and we continue to learn along the way about this new, deep-space spacecraft,” said Mike Sarafin, Artemis I mission manager, in a briefing on Monday at Johnson Space Center.
Howard Hu, head of the Orion programme, told the BBC, “It’s the first step we’re taking to long-term deep-space exploration, for not just the United States but for the world. I think this is a historic day for NASA, but it’s also a historic day for all the people who love human space flight and deep-space exploration.”
“Certainly in this decade, we’re going to have people living [on the Moon],” Hu commented. “The durations, you know, depending on how long we’ll be on the surface. They’ll be living, they’ll have habitats and they’ll have rovers on the ground. … So, not only are we able to work in delivering people to the Moon, getting people down to the surface of the Moon, they still have to have the infrastructure.”
Hu later commented that a big reason for NASA trying to get back on the Moon is to determine whether there is water at its south pole. If present, water could be converted into fuel for spacecraft travelling to Mars.
This exciting insight into humanity’s future in space marks a huge milestone for not only the space sector, but for the entire world.
The last manned mission to the Moon was Apollo 17 in December 1972. Five decades on, we’re actually seeing the implementation of systems that will allow us to stay up there long-term. With the industry advancing so rapidly and making such huge strides, we can’t wait to see where the next decade takes us.