After unforeseen technical events and delays due to weather conditions, the NASA I was finally able to launch the rocket for the Artemis 1 mission this morning (16).
This initial flight is unmanned but crucial. It will fly over our natural satellite, to perform tests, gather information and, above all, to confirm that the craft is safe for future astronauts.
Artemis 2, scheduled for 2024, will be launched; But only on the third day of the following year will he land on the moon.
The program didn’t get its name for nothing. In Greek mythology, in addition to being the goddess of the moon, Artemis is the sister of the god Apollo — whose name marked NASA’s lunar program in the 1960s and 1970s. The most famous mission was the Apollo 11 mission, which in 1969 took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to lunar soil.
After more than 50 years, we will finally walk there again.
Why do we go to the moon now?
The Artemis program is important for several reasons.
First of all, it must confirm the effectiveness of the massive SLS (Space Launch System) rocket, the most powerful rocket in NASA’s history, which launched the Orion capsule this morning.
It’s a much more recent technology than that used in the Saturn V rocket, from Apollo 11. Among its benefits is the ability to be reused. “This rocket cost a lot of sweat and tears,” NASA chief Bill Nelson said Tuesday. “It will allow us to go to the moon and back for decades.”
Already a capsule Orion, which will be able to carry astronauts further than ever before, will spend about six weeks in space, covering nearly two million kilometers. When it returns, with a planned landing in the Pacific Ocean on December 11, it will be a test-fire of its heat shield — it will reach Earth’s atmosphere at Mach 32, or roughly 40,000 km/h, the fastest return of a capsule. Since the program Apollo🇧🇷
According to NASA, the goal of returning to the moon is “scientific discoveries, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers: the generation of Artemis.” And also reaffirming US leadership in space exploration: “By maintaining US leadership in exploration, we will build a global coalition and explore deep space for the benefit of all,” the agency stated.
Another high point in the Artemis program is that it will lead to the first woman and the first black person to step on the moon – these astronauts have yet to be chosen.
From the Moon, let’s go to Mars
More than making brief visits and collecting samples, as in the Apollo program, the new batch of missions wants to allow for a permanent human presence there.
The goal is to establish a stable base at the satellite’s south pole – an area different from that explored in the past, and which could yield new geological discoveries.
But the most ambitious dream is to move forward. A space station to be installed in lunar orbit, called the Lunar Gateway, will serve as a “warehouse” for launches toward another, more distant target: Mars.
It is estimated that manned missions to the Red Planet will begin in the late 2030s.
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