NASA’S ARTEMIS: Taking space exploration to new heights

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The ARTEMIS programme marks the first significant step towards deeper manned space missions in over 4 decades

The programme, aptly named after Apollo’s twin sister, is NASA’s attempt to set up an outpost that would allow for multiple missions to the moon’s surface and beyond. The administration faces an extremely tight timeline.

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It estimates that astronauts will once again step foot on the moon by 2024 and will establish a ‘sustainable human presence’ on the lunar surface by 2028.

The Plan

There are 3 essential pieces required to meet their ambitious deadline; the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the Orion space capsule, and the lunar space station dubbed ‘Gateway’.

Gateway is perhaps the most exciting and revolutionary part of the project, as it would make multiple manned missions to the moon, as well as other celestial bodies, safer and more feasible.

The long-term goal is to use the moon as a launching pad to figuratively and literally fuel deeper space missions by using the abundance of water and other resources available under the lunar surface.

The Problem:

Despite NASA’s clear plan and rhetoric-filled promotional material, it still faces several obstacles in its path to the moon. Namely, they still need to build and test the SLS, Orion, and Gateway. To expedite the process, the contracts to design and construct several of the key elements are going to be auctioned off to third parties.

The Politics:

Artemis is an example of the few times that political policy and scientific advancement have aligned. Thanks to the Trump administration and the president’s new Space Policy Directive-1, NASA has a new budget of $1.6 billion for the year of 2020. Hopefully, the renewed funds and backing from the government will provide the administration with the support they need to help usher in a new era of space exploration

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