Mission “Artemis” to establish settlements on the moon

The “Artemis” program, led by NASA, is a project that hopes to start a new chapter in space exploration. The “Artemis” project will be implemented as a larger and more complex process than the “Apollo” program, which started about 50 years ago, aiming at the moon.

So, in addition to NASA, the European Space Agency. The Canadian Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and several other companies are collaborating with the “Artemis” program.

Compared to the Apollo lunar missions, there are many things that make the Artemis program special. We can summarize it all as follows.

This time, they are not content with just sending people to the moon. They will even set up the background to stay there!

A series of operations

Like the Apollo project, “Artemis” will be carried out as a series of missions. They are planned for manned or unmanned missions, and there is also focus on building a space station in orbit around the Moon.

Currently, the “Artemis” project is described under three phases. Even though we have found information about this project beyond that, the next phase depends on the success of the previous phase. The first stage (Artemis I) and the second stage (Artemis II) are reserved for test flights.

Artemis I

The first phase, which operated without a crew, took place on November 16, 2022 as a test flight. There, the performance of one of the world’s most powerful rockets, “SLS (Space Launch System)”, was tested, and the process of the “Orion” spacecraft, which was ready to be launched into space, was also examined. Orion returned to Earth on December 11, 2022, providing the necessary base for the second phase of the mission series.

Artemis II

Artemis II is a phase planned for late 2024. What makes this phase of the project even more special and historic is that it involves a crew. The names of four astronauts have been announced for that.

The four are NASA astronaut and commander Reed Wiseman, pilot Victor Glover, operations specialist Christina Koch, and Jeremy Hansen, who represents the Canadian Space Agency.

Planned to be a flight of approximately ten days, the objectives of this phase are to test the crew’s space exploration capabilities, test the “SLS” rocket and “Orion” spacecraft with astronauts, and lay the groundwork for future operations on the lunar surface. expected to be achieved.

Artemis III

The culmination of the two-phase test runs will come with the third phase. It is planned to be implemented in 2025. Here, the crew plans to land on the moon, where they will study the geology of the moon, take samples, take photos and videos, and collect other data to meet specific scientific goals.

The success of the third phase is likely to determine the future of the “Artemis” project. They may be named Artemis IV, Artemis V, but from now on we will focus only on the special features proposed for the project, not under the phases.

” The Gateway”

An important part of the Artemis program is “The Gateway”, a multi-purpose center in orbit around the moon. It will provide the necessary facilities for long-term human landings on the lunar surface, and will also serve as a platform for deeper space exploration. NASA intends to join with other commercial and international partners to establish “The Gateway”.

Most impressive of all is the fact that they are trying to make the dream of staying on the moon a reality through the Artemis program. This prospect is the most challenging of all the other elements and activities of the operation.

“Artemis Base Camp”

Building a base on the moon is a very difficult task. But, in order to build technological advances and new knowledge systems, challenges must be faced. The construction of the proposed lunar base will require new thinking regarding the structure of power generators, vehicles and habitats.

We mentioned that two research flights (Artemis I and II) were planned before landing men on the Moon. If so, several more research-level missions will be needed to understand its feasibility before building a base on the moon. Therefore, it is said that the construction of habitats on the surface of the moon will not begin before 2030. However, conceptual issues regarding how the lunar base needs to be planned are already being collected.

Camp communication

 “Crescent Space”, a subsidiary of “Lockheed Martin”, is an organization dedicated to the infrastructure of space operations. They have a plan for how to build the communication system when building a base on the moon.

“Imagine that when you move into a new apartment, you first have to connect your phone and internet facilities. The first step is communication.”

Joe Landon, CEO of Crescent Space, explains the importance of communication in this way. They already have a need to become the Internet and GPS provider of the future lunar base. They hope to overcome the communication challenge by building a system of small satellites that work together to maintain seamless communications between Earth and the Moon.

More space for solar energy

The next challenge is energy. NASA intends to use more solar energy for that purpose. They have already selected several companies to develop the required solar panels. “Astrobotic” is one such company.

Since the camp is planned to be built near the south pole of the moon, special care has to be taken in the way the solar panels are set up. The reason for this is that the sun rises just above the horizon in the said area. Therefore, solar panels have to be installed vertically.

The company intends to connect 18-meter-high panel-type solar panels through several kilometers of cables, and plans to install solar panels on vehicles used for operations.

Traffic in an extreme environment is also a challenge

It is said that in the area where the camp is to be built, there will be a period of extremely cold nights extending up to two weeks, and the temperature will drop to minus 170 degrees Celsius. Vehicles should be built to withstand this extreme environmental condition in the long term. NASA has already handed over this technical challenge to companies.

Lockheed Martin and General Motors are collaborating, and Dynetics is working with Nascar to build a suitable rover. This rover is going to be produced in a way that it can travel for two people. Attention has also been paid to the rover’s ability to operate automatically as required.

“Moon soil” as an ingredient..?

Finally, the camp staff will need a residence that feels like “home.” NASA has received a $57.2 million contract from Icon, a company specializing in 3D printing.

The company will use the money to build roads on the moon, set up landing strips, and develop technology to build habitats. The possibility of using “lunar soil” as a building material will also be explored.

Meanwhile, companies like “Lockheed Martin” are developing a concept of inflatable space habitats that can increase the internal volume by inflating them. The habitats are mobile, as they intend to design the bedrooms, kitchen and space for scientific equipment, all on a frame.

So, Artemis is a huge project that will be implemented in phases over several years. If this is successful as planned, it could even lead to further development of missions to Mars.


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