NASA has again moved the SLS rocket to the launch pad and is refueling it. The new space carrier built on old foundations has already met so many “flies” that need to be caught that it probably doesn’t make sense to write when it will first rise to the sky. Hopefully it will be this year.
The Artemis 1 mission is to be followed in about two years by a manned flyby of the Moon as part of the Artemis 2 mission, and then it is time for a landing on the surface – the first since 1972.
Four astronauts head for the moon, two of them move to Moonship, which is remarkably similar to SpaceX’s Starship, and land on the surface. It’s not a coincidence. SpaceX will supply a lunar module, but it may not stay with one vendor in the future.
The landing could take place in 2025, but a later date is more realistic. We don’t know the name of the “new Armstrong” yet, but it is already certain today that one of the two people who will return us to the moon will be a woman.
Where does the lunar module land? Apollo’s mission clung to the area around the equator, Artemis will certainly head to the area of the South Pole, where water ice was discovered in the regolith. The exact location was not and will not be chosen in the near future, but it is already being discussed in the scientific community.
Paradoxically, the choice will generally be more complicated than in the case of Apollo. The place must meet a number of criteria. There is a great play of light and shadows around the moon’s pole. The moon does not have an atmosphere that would scatter the sun’s rays, so if you trip over the day and fall into the crater, you can very quickly find yourself in total darkness.
There are places in the pole area where it is mostly or even always dark, but a short distance away are places where light is available most of the time. In addition to light, you will also need a view of the Earth for communication. NASA is unlikely to follow the path of retransmission probe space. The connection should be direct.
In addition, it is a slope, not only due to landing, but also due to the movement of astronauts. Last but not least, it is not possible to land in an area with a large number of larger stones.
There are two areas in the game near Shackleton Crater
While Apollo 11 landed in the Sea of Calm, Artemis 3 apparently lands somewhere in the crater area Shackletonwhich has a diameter of 21 km.
Specifically, two areas are being worked on. The first is “site 004” on the very edge of the crater at an altitude of 1700 meters. The sun’s rays fall here for 85% of the time or more.
The second site is called “site 001” and is located at 1,900 meters above sea level on the Shackleton-de Gerlach ridge, which connects the two craters of the same name. Lighting conditions are even better here – 89%.
Sources: hou.usra.edu, danielmarin.naukas.com, sciencedirect.com
Artemis Live: The Return of Man to the Moon
Artemis is NASA’s space program designed to restore human flights to the moon. A Gateway station will be built in the Moon’s orbit. The crew to the station will be transported by the Orion spacecraft, launched by the SLS rocket. Astronauts will be transported to the surface of the Moon by the HLS module, which will be at least the Starship from SpaceX on the first landing.
- Artemis 1: An unmanned flight in which the ship Orion will be launched into orbit around the Moon and then back to Earth. Deadline: end of 2021
- Artemis 2: Piloted orbit of the Moon. Deadline: year 2023
- Artemis 3: Man landing on the moon. Deadline: at the earliest in 2024
- CLPS: Transportation of scientific experiments to the surface of the Moon in support of the Artemis program. Deadline: from 2021