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dated: 2022-11-20 10:53:06 .
Man could live on the moon before the decade is out, a senior NASA official said after the successful launch of the Artemis rocket.
After a series of failed launch attempts earlier this year, Artemis 1 launched on Wednesday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
An unmanned lunar mission will pave the way for manned flight testing and future manned lunar exploration.
A NASA Space Launch System rocket carrying the Orion spacecraft launches on the Artemis I test flight at the Kennedy Space Center (Nasa/Joel Kowsky/PA)
Artemis carries the Orion lunar probe, which is piloted by a manikin – a model of the human body used to measure the effects of flight on the body.
Howard Hu, Orion’s program manager, said the launch was a “historic day for human spaceflight.”
He told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday: “It’s the first step we’re taking towards long-term space exploration, not just for the United States but for the whole world.
“I think this is a historic day for NASA, but it’s also a historic day for all the people who love human spaceflight and space exploration.
“I mean, we’re going back to the moon, we’re working on a sustainable program, and this is a vehicle that’s going to carry people that’s going to take us back to the moon.”
Named after the Greek goddess of the moon and sister of the god Apollo, who gave the name to NASA’s first lunar missions, the Artemis program envisages the construction of the Lunar Gateway – a new space station where astronauts will be able to live and work.
He explained that the gateway would act as an orbital platform that would serve as a way station for lunar missions, with astronauts “landing” from the platform to and from the moon.
He said the goal is for people to live on the moon, he said, “Certainly in this decade we’re going to have people living for a certain amount of time, depending on how long they’re on the surface, they’re going to have habitats, they’re going to have rovers on the ground.
“We will send people to the surface, they will live there on the surface and do science.”
He said lunar missions are a step toward human travel to Mars.
Mr. Hu added: “Going forward is actually a journey to Mars, it’s a bigger stepping stone, a two-year journey, so it will be very important to learn beyond our Earth orbit.”
The mission is expected to last 25 days, including an outbound flight, a trip around the moon and satellite deployment, followed by a return flight before plunging into the Pacific Ocean in December.
Man could live on the moon by the end of the decade – NASA official
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