NEW YORK – The US plans to send Artemis, who in Greek mythology is the twin sister of Apollo, on a new mission that aims to get the country back to the Moon half a century after Neil Armstrong walked on the satellite for the first time in history, with the main goal being to reach Mars in the future.
Artemis Moon Mission 2024 is part of a state policy of President Donald Trump’s Administration in the search to become the first country in the world to reach Mars.
Last March, Trump asked NASA to consider “all options and platforms available” to achieve those objectives, “including the industry, the government, and the entire US space industry.”
Russia also plans its first manned flight to the Moon in 2030, 61 years after the North Americans beat the Soviets in the lunar race.
Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, has been working since 2009 on the construction of Federatsia (Federation), a new generation spacecraft with a capacity of six astronauts.
Its first flight to the Moon is scheduled for 2022, but it has already suffered several setbacks, and has shown many doubts over being able to reach its deadlines.
For the US, the first destination on the lunar surface would be the South Pole, where it is believed that there are millions of tons of ice that can be extracted and purified to obtain water, separate the oxygen to breathe and hydrogen to obtain rocket fuel, according to NASA.
Although some tests are already underway, the US would have to develop new equipment, such as the Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket ever developed.
Engineers would also have to finish building Orion, a space capsule with the capacity to transport four astronauts, offer them support and take them back to Earth.
In 2020, the year set by NASA for the development of the Artemis I mission, the Orion capsule will be launched on a test flight to the lunar orbit.
Two years later, the manned mission Artemis II will be carried out, which would involve orbiting the Moon 50 years after the first landing.
That same year, a small space station called Gateway will be sent up, working as a base between the Earth and the Moon.
In 2024, Gateway will have to be able to assist human beings, although it will not be fully completed until 2028.
Establishing a permanent presence on the Moon or embarking on long journeys, such as to Mars, will make it increasingly important to manufacture materials and products using the available local resources.
The Artemis program could cost between $20-30 billion over five years, according to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
In addition to that, Trump has proposed to Congress by 2020 an additional allocation of $1.6 billion to NASA’s budget, which exceeds $21 billion.