NASA plans to send astronauts to the moon’s surface by 2024. If the mission goes ahead as planned, it will be the first time since the 1960s that humans have walked on the surface of another planetary body. Infrastructure to support long-term sustainable existence must be established before humans land on the moon in 2024. The Artemis program will allow humans to explore the moon like never before and prepare for future manned missions to Mars.
NASA says the Artemis mission will be there to demonstrate the key elements needed for humans’ first mission to Mars. On the moon’s surface, the core of the mission will be moving, allowing astronauts to explore the moon and conduct more scientific experiments. The astronauts will use the lunar topographic vehicle to transport around the landing area. A liveable mobile platform will allow crews to travel up to 45 days to the moon.
The mission also includes a lunar foundation surface habitat that can be used in days to cover four people. On the lunar surface, with the development of resource utilization and power system technology, the persons on the mission will also have equipment that can generate resources such as oxygen and water.
Those on mission will then be able to produce fuel, drinking water and/or oxygen from local materials that will contribute to sustainable service operations and reduce the demand for supplies to the planet. The plan also calls for the creation of a space station in lunar orbit. The orbiting space station will serve as a command and control center for ground expeditions, as well as the astronaut’s office and home.
NASA has developed a plan that will enhance the station’s residency capacity and associated life support systems over time. The overall goal is to test the supply and command capabilities around the moon for long-term deep space missions. NASA specifically envisions a four-person crew going to lunar orbit and living on the outpost for months to simulate a round trip to mars.