NASA is hoping to send astronauts to the lunar surface in 5 years (by 2024) and has planned on the moon’s south pole as a possible landing site.
The principal reasons for the exact place are the fact that the lunar south pole has ice, NASA said, and water is a basic supply for long-term explorations: it is needed for drinking, for cooling the equipment, for breathing and for making rocket fuel for explorations to Mars and not only.
Another reason for a future human landing in the southern pole of the moon is that, even though no human stepped on it, it is the most comprehensively explored and examined regions on the lunar surface, Steven Clarke, a deputy associate administrator of Science Mission Doctorate at NASA headquarters in Washington said in a statement.
The moon’s southern region is a totally unexplored world except for the observations from orbit which suggest that the lunar south pole contains ice and might have a multitude of other resources. The challenge will be in gathering more data and a new environment to investigate to build the capacity to travel farther into space, as the south pole is far from the Apollo landing sites which are bundled up around the equator, Clarke said.
Lunar South Pole Would Be The Next Landing Site for Future Moon Missions
The data gathered so far is due to the elliptical, polar orbit of NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) which is closest to the lunar surface as it passes over its south pole. The LRO has been orbiting the moon since June of 2009, accumulating information such as topography, temperature, and locations of likely frozen water of the lunar south pole.
Moon’s crates have the most concentration of ice at the lunar south pole, which is in shadow for all times because of the small angle of the moon rotation axis. The crater grounds measure some of the lowest temperatures in our solar system, precisely down to -248 C (-414 degrees Fahrenheit).
John W. Keller, a lunar scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said that the records of water collection on the moon could help the scientist determine and understand how the water and other substances have been moving around the solar system. The Space Policy Directive-1 which was signed in December 2017, supports for the US-led integrated program with partners in the private sector for a return to the lunar surface of humans, succeeded by explorations on Mars and other zones.