This Monday (29), at 9:33 am (Brazilian time), a 98-meter rocket will take off from the Kennedy Space Center, in the US state of Florida. destiny? The the moon.
The missile, the most powerful in history NASArepresents the beginning Artemis I . mission – part of a A new phase of lunar exploration He wants to bring people back to the surface the moon, 50 years after the Apollo program. And the goal goes further: to reach, in the future, to Mars.
- ARTEMIS I mission: see details
Monday’s mission is still a drone, but it’s very symbolic for NASA – which the Soviets no longer have as competitors today (as happened in 1969, when Neil Armstrong ascended to the moon for the first time) – and yes China And private competitors like SpaceXin Elon Musk.
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, in 2016. Photo: Jose Jordan/AFP
If all goes well, astronauts from the US space agency can prepare, in 2024, for a tour around the satellite’s natural satellite. a land. NASA plans to land two people on the moon by the end of 2025.
But agency officials warn about that The journey, a six-week experience, is fraught with dangers And it can be stopped if something fails.
“We’re going to get him to do things we’d never do with a team, to try to make it as safe as possible,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Interviewed by Reuters, NASA astronaut Stanley Love explained a little about the risks:
“The main point of the trip doesn’t happen until the last few minutes, when we’re back in Earth’s atmosphere after falling off the moon at nearly 24,000 miles per hour. [cerca de 39 mil km/h]5 thousand degrees [Fahrenheit, cerca de 2.750ºC] In that heat shield.”
And the task was not cheap either: it cost more than 4 billion dollars (about 20 billion Brazilian reais). If we take into account the costs from the beginning of the program, ten years ago, to the landing on the moon, in 2025, they are $93 billion (about R$471 billion).
See below 5 points about the Artemis I trip:
The moon sets in front of a NASA Artemis rocket, with the Orion spacecraft on board, in block 39b of the Kennedy Space Center, June 15, 2022. – Photo: AP Photo/John Raoux
The new rocket is shorter and thinner than the Saturn Vs, which launched 24 Apollo astronauts to the moon 50 years ago — but more powerful, with 4 million kilograms of thrust. Unlike the aerodynamic Saturn V, the new rocket contains a pair of thrusters remanufactured from NASA’s space shuttles.
At a height of 3 meters, the capsule Orion It’s more spacious than the Apollo capsule, accommodating four astronauts instead of three.
For the test flight, a full-size dummy in an orange flight suit will occupy the pilot’s seat, equipped with vibration and acceleration sensors. Two other mannequins made of a material that mimics human tissue — female heads and torso, but no limbs — will measure cosmic radiation, one of the biggest dangers of space flight.
Unlike the rocket, Orion has been launched before, orbiting the Earth twice in 2014.
Orion’s flight is expected to last six weeks, from takeoff in Florida to landing in the Pacific Ocean. It would take nearly a week to reach the moon, which is 386,000 kilometers away.
After orbiting near the moon, the capsule will enter a distant orbit, remaining 450 thousand kilometers from Earth – farther than Apollo.
The big test comes at the end of the mission, when Orion hits the atmosphere at 40,000 km/h on its way to diving into the Pacific Ocean.. The thermal protector uses the same material as the Apollo capsules to withstand return temperatures of 2750°C. Advanced design predicts the fastest and hottest return for future crews bound for Mars.
In addition to the three test dummies, the flight has a number of “stowaways” for deep space research.
Ten shoebox-sized satellites will be launched once Orion is launched toward the moon. NASA expects some to fail, given their low-cost, high-risk nature.
Greetings to the future, Orion will carry some moon rock fragments that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin collected from Apollo 11 in 1969.And a screw from one of its rocket engines was salvaged from the sea a decade ago.
More than 50 years later, the Apollo mission remains NASA’s greatest achievement. Using technology from the 1960s, it took the US space agency just eight years to launch its first astronaut, Alan Shepard, to the moon, and even land Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
Twelve Apollo astronauts walked on the Moon from 1969 to 1972, staying no more than three days at a time.
On the other hand, Artemis has been slowing down for more than a decade. For the new mission, NASA will use a diverse group of astronauts – currently 42 people – and extend the time teams spend on the Moon to at least a week. The goal is to create a long-term presence on the moon.
The agency promises to announce the first lunar crews once Orion returns to Earth.
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