On July 22nd, NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the Moon, stating that the U.S Space Agency is ready for their next giant leap with the new Artemis program that aims to take the first woman and another man to the Moon.
Artemis to fly the first woman to the Moon
NASA’s new Moon program has its meaning from the goddess sister of Apollo, Artemis, that is also considered the Goddess of hunting and the Moon. “Artemis will light our way to Mars. The new Artemis identity draws bold inspiration from the Apollo program and forges its own path, showing how it will pursue lunar exploration like never before and pave the way to Mars,” said NASA in a statement.
The two lucky astronauts will have the honor of unraveling the puzzles of the Universe, explore new areas of the Moon never seen before and test newly-designed technology that would help the humanity expand its grasp over the solar system.
NASA also stated: “On the lunar surface we will pursue water, ice and other natural resources that will further enable deep space travel. From the Moon, humanity will take the next giant leap to Mars.”
NASA’s Artemis program to pave the way to Mars
The new landing mission on the Moon that has been scheduled on 2024 is estimated to cost around $30 billion, the same amount of money as the Apollo mission taking into account the inflation. The Apollo mission that the U.S conducted in 1961 and ended in 1972 cost roughly about $25 billion.
NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine said that the Artemis mission would be a long term one where the human presence on the Moon will be a constant one compared to the Apollo. This will be achieved while building space stations on the Moon run by humans.
The next missions will be launched into space by the Space Launch System, a rocket developed by NASA and Boeing that will be the largest ever built when it is assembled. This rocket will send a new spacecraft into space, carrying the name of Orion, having as lead contractor Lockheed Martin. Private companies will orchestrate the next missions carried between 2022 and 2024, says NASA. Artemis program would pace the way to the first human-crewed Mars missions.