Going Back to the Moon

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Going Back to the Moon
By Jerry Brownstein
The launch of a giant Artemis I rocket in September was the beginning of a mission by NASA to put people on the moon for the first time since 1972. It took off from the same Cape Canaveral launch complex that staged the Apollo lunar missions half a century ago.

This rocket carried a deep space exploration capsule called Orion, that was unmanned for this mission, but will eventually have a crew of six astronauts. On this flight Orion will orbit the moon, and then return to Earth after about a month and a half. The next step will be Artemis II, which is currently scheduled for 2024. That mission will have a full crew who will fly around the moon several times without landing. If all goes well, then Artemis III will land people on the moon in 2025.

NASA hopes to build permanent outposts on the moon and in its orbit, to facilitate the exploration of space. Their future plans include sending human beings to Mars, and the Artemis missions will test some of the technology and logistics required to do that. NASA is interested in studying ice in the lunar craters, as it could provide clues to the origins of our solar system. The ice might also be useful in establishing permanent bases on the moon, if it can be turned into drinking water, oxygen or spacecraft fuel.  


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