If there is something that characterizes us human beings, it is curiosity, uncertainty and mystery. Although we always try to discover everything that surrounds us, it is not always easy, especially when it comes to the space world. Faced with the impatience to explore unknown places, NASA has prepared a new lunar mission, this time to the Lunar South Pole and with the Artemis III mission.
After the successful test of Artemis I the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has planned a new release in 2025, but this time manned. “Artemis III will be one of the most complex engineering and human ingenuity undertakings in the history of deep space exploration to date,” the agency said in a statement.
Four astronauts will depart from Launch Pad 39B of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard the Space Launch System (SLS). The crew will be selected from among the most diverse astronaut corps in history, each gifted with unique abilities and intensely trained. One of the novelties, according to the agency, will be the presence of “the first woman and also the first black person” on board.
The first thing the crew will do is launch into Earth orbit, where they will “perform system checks and solar panel adjustments on Orion.” Following this, a powerful boost from the SLS interim cryogenic propulsion stage will help Orion to perform a translunar injection maneuver. This will set your course for the Moon.
The first few days of the mission, the crew will perform collective engine burns to intercept the Moon’s gravitational field. When the optimal circumstances occur, Orion will act “a twin engine ignition series to place the spacecraft in a near rectilinear lunar halo orbit (NRHO),” explains the US agency.
Out of hundreds of potential orbits, NASA selected NRHO to achieve Artemis’ long-term goals. NRHO will provide nearly constant communications with Earth and access to sites all over the Moon. Because it is gravitationally balanced between the Earth and the Moon, this orbit will maximize fuel efficiency.
Space X, the one in charge of making it possible
NASA has relied on the space x company to carry out the return to the Moon that will launch a storage tank into Earth orbit. “A series of reusable tankers will carry propellant to the storage depot to power the human landing system,” NASA details.
Following this, the unmanned human landing system Starship will launch into Earth orbit and will meet with the storage depot to fill all the tanks. This will be done before “executing a translunar injection engine burn and traveling approximately six days to NRHO where it will await the Artemis III crew.”
When both spacecraft have reached the NRHO target, Orion will dock with the Starship human landing system. At this time prepare for the first expedition of the lunar surface of the 21st century. When everything is ready, two astronauts will board Starship and two others will remain in Orion.
At the time this happens, Orion will “detach” from the Starship in order to “remain in NRHO for approximately one orbit around the Moon, with a duration of approximately 6.5 days», clarifies NASA. This “will coincide with the duration of the expedition to the surface, so that when Orion completes its orbit, the two-person surface crew will finish their work on the surface in time to relaunch and rendezvous with the spacecraft.”
Artemis III’s mission is to take astronauts to the South Pole of the Moon. It will be the first time humans have explored the area, as the extreme and contrasting conditions make it a challenging place. These features “promise unprecedented scientific discoveries in deep space.”
The life of astronauts on the Moon
When they land, the first thing they will do is examine the systems and see that they are ready to stay on the lunar surface. Once they have checked everything they will rest, eat and recharge for the first full day of the expedition,” clarifies the space agency.
During their time on the Moon, astronauts they will do moonwalks, take pictures and videosThey will study geology, recover samples, and collect other data to meet specific scientific goals.