NASA Says Humans Will Be Back On The Moon In 2025
by Trisha Leigh
It’s been decades since America won the space race, putting human beings on the surface of the moon before any other nation managed the accomplishment.
NASA has always promised that we would be back on the lunar surface one day, and now they’re narrowing that timeline even more, promising 2025.
The Artemis III mission has been announced, including the launch date of 2025, and the intended landing site: the lunar South Pole.
They are intending to send four astronauts in the Orion capsule atop the Space Launch System. Both of these were tested recently with the Artemis I, and NASA has said that they are so far pleased with the results.
Orion will take the astronauts into the Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO), a special celestial path that allows the moon to be in contact with Earth. One day, it will be the location of the Lunar Gateway, a new space station that will provide a base for future space missions.
The success of SpaceX’s Starship is crucial to the mission; they will have to meet NASA’s high standards before being used again for Artemis III. They are expected to conduct orbital tests later in 2023, once SpaceX complies with the FAA’s environmental requirements.
Starship will launch and then hook up with an orbiting fuel depot before continuing on to the Moon, where it will meet Orion in the NRHO, picking up two astronauts to transfer to the lunar surface.
NASA says we can expect the lunar South Pole will look very different from the equatorial regions, which is where the Apollo astronauts landed. Explorers will need additional light, since the sun will be low on the horizon, and also astronauts are expected to spend several days on the surface collecting samples, surveying geology, and the like.
When they’re done, Starship will convey them back to Orion and then they will all return home.
Artemis II will be the first crewed mission of the program, though, and is expected to launch in May 2024.
It’s all very exciting; a new generation is going to get their own chance to watch Americans walk on the moon.