Humans last walked on the Moon 50 years ago
Astronauts will be able to fly into the Moon’s orbit in 2024 and they will come to Earth in 2025
NASA had to postpone its second attempt to send a ‘crew capsule’ to lunar orbit
Sydney. (The Conversation), US space agency NASA’s new lunar rocket suffered another dangerous fuel leak on Saturday, forcing launch controllers to postpone their second attempt to send a ‘crew capsule’ into lunar orbit with test dummies. Earlier on Monday, the problem had arisen due to hydrogen fuel leak in the first attempt. This is NASA’s most powerful rocket ever, which is 322 feet tall. After all, what is going to be achieved from this mission, let’s know in detail.
This mission is an exciting step towards sending humans to the Moon for the first time since 1972. But this time it’s not just about leaving our footprints on the moon’s soil, but it marks the beginning of a new space race for lunar resources. This time everyone wants to do mining on the moon.
return to the moon
There is something very new and inspiring about the Artemis program. Artemis 1 is the program’s first mission and will conduct an experimental flight to orbit the Moon and return to Earth after a 42-day voyage without a crew. The voyage will use a new launch vehicle, the Space Launch System (SLS), which is currently the most powerful rocket in the world.
There will be three effigies of male and female models on the board. NASA will use these mannequins to test the comfort and safety of launch vehicles and spaceflight capsules for humans. Several other experiments have also been conducted on board and a series of small satellites will be launched to provide data when the capsule is near the Moon. The lessons learned from this mission will be applied to Artemis 2, the mission planned for 2024 and expected to send a man and a woman to the Moon.
A new space race?
However, man’s re-entering the Moon is not just about discovery and pursuit of knowledge. Just as the space race of the 1960s was inspired by the geopolitics of the Cold War, today’s space programs are based on the geopolitics of today. The US is leading Artemis, which includes the European Space Agency and several other allies, including Australia. China and Russia are cooperating on their respective Moon programs. They are planning to land a man on the moon in 2026.
India is also working on robotic moon landers and lunar spaceflight programs. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also planning to launch a lunar lander in November this year. The long-term goal of this race is to acquire lunar resources.
resources on the moon
Water ice has been detected in the southern regions of the Moon and it is hoped that some of the gases that could be used for fuel may also be mined.
These resources can be used to build long-term human habitation on and near the Moon, as well as to build permanent space stations orbiting the Moon, such as NASA’s preplanned ‘Gateways’. The Australian space agency is supporting Australian industry to be part of the Artemis program and is planning subsequent US trips to Mars. Australian scientists are also developing a lunar rover to aid lunar mining efforts.
What are the rules?
Over the next five years we can expect enormous political tensions to rise around this new race on the Moon. One question that has not yet been answered is: What laws govern activities on the Moon? The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 prohibits access to space by “sovereignty, possession or any other means”. It is not yet clear whether mining or other methods of extracting the resource are covered by this ban.
technical and political challenges
NASA has chosen the name “Artemis” for this new lunar endeavor. Artemis is the Greek goddess of the Moon and the twin sister of Apollo (the name of NASA’s 1960 Moon spacecraft program). Artemis announced that she never wanted to marry because she did not want to be the property of any man.
While ownership of the Moon cannot be claimed, we will see competition about whether parts of it can be mined. Undoubtedly scientists and engineers will solve technical challenges in order to return to the Moon. Legal and political challenges may prove more difficult to address.
Tags: moon, Nasa
FIRST PUBLISHED : September 04, 2022, 15:08 IST