Back to the Moon. As part of the Artemis 1 mission, NASA’s new rocket is due to take off this Monday at the beginning of the afternoon towards the Moon. This first, uncrewed flight must eventually be followed by sending men and women to Earth’s satellite, fifty years after the last Apollo flight. This return of human beings to the Moon has both a scientific and a geopolitical objective.
A “more sustainable” return to the Moon
With Artemis 1, NASA signs “the return of humanity to the Moon”, but in a more sustainable way”, estimates astronaut Thomas Pesquet, on BFMTV.
Referring to the “beginning of a new era”, the Frenchman explains that the mission should allow “to settle there for longer and longer, to build bases”.
Specifically, NASA intends to establish a lasting human presence on the Moon, with the construction of a space station in orbit around it and a base on the surface. The first astronauts are expected to reach the star’s surface in 2025 at the earliest. After this mission, NASA wants to launch about one mission per year.
The Artemis 3 mission is of scientific interest. In fact, it must be the first to bring astronauts to the South Pole of the Moon, where the presence of water in the form of ice has been confirmed, and not near the equator as during Apollo.
Mars in sight
Regular NASA missions to this star should also allow astronauts to learn to live in deep space to eventually consider sending the first humans to Mars.
Because, in fact, the red planet is the long-term goal of the program. NASA wishes, upon returning to the Moon, to test all the technologies necessary to send the first humans to Mars: new suits, vehicles to move around, a mini-power plant, the use of lunar water…
“If we could go directly to Mars, (…) we would do it” because “the scientific interest is greater”, explains Thomas Pesquet. “But we’re not in a position to go there” and “we have to go rehearse our ranges on the Moon,” he says.
Advantage for the Moon, astronauts can get there in just 3 or 4 days. This allows you to prepare to go to Mars by organizing missions of relatively short duration.
Countering Chinese ambitions
The return of the United States to the Moon also has a “geopolitical” objective, estimates on BFMTV Marie-Ange Sanguy, editor-in-chief of the magazine space and exploration.
“(Americans) want their domain of space (spatial dominance Editor’s note), meaning they want to remain first in this field there,” he explains.
This concern is fueled by Chinese ambitions. “China has not hidden its space program for years. They are moving fast and they intend to send taikonauts to the moon,” she said.
American Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon on July 21, 1969 and place a United States flag there as part of the Apollo 11 mission.
Source: BFM TV