NASA Goes Back to Moon
By Karthik Nair , Class 5 B, Pawar Public School, Mumbai
NASA goes back to the moon using the mission "Artemis”
Nasa has done many breakthroughs in space technology helping us know more about the universe and its vast mysteriousness. Some of these breakthroughs are, Apollo missions to the moon which included tragedy and also reward, the first man on the moon, the Hubble telescope and the legendary spacecrafts, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, which is currently at the edge of our own galaxy. Since the last of the Apollo missions, Apollo 17, Nasa has not put forth any interest in going back to Moon. That suddenly changed when they announced that their new moon mission would take the first woman and the next man on the moon. They fittingly named these missions as Artemis, named after the Greek goddess Artemis and her twin sister, Apollo. The Artemis missions focus on building a lunar base settlement on the moon (for this, they will need to send the missions continually), to help understand astronauts to learn how to work and live on moon or any other planet and finally to build a launch site on the moon. The reason they decided to do that is because the moon has a lesser gravitational pull than earth and the atmosphere is not so dense there, as a result, the rockets launched from moon need less thrust and fuel to escape the atmosphere and reach other planets like MARS… which seems to be core mission behind Artemis for creating human settlements.
Now the question is, how will they do this? For this, we will have to get into NASA’s shoes. For reaching to the moon, they have a couple of new fancy technologies to help them. The first one is, the Orion spacecraft named after the winter constellation, Orion. Nasa is building this magnificent spacecraft for the Artemis missions. They are planning to test this spacecraft as the first uncrewed mission of the Artemis program, Artemis 1 which is set to launch in November 2021. If all goes as planned and it safely comes back to Earth, Nasa will test it out on real astronauts for the manned mission to moon. The Orion capsule also has a service module for all the life support systems and the fuel, the capsule itself one for liftoff from the earth and also coming back to Earth and the launch abort system, if anything goes wrong. It will take up to 4 astronauts into space. First it has a very powerful heatshield for re-entry, the second legendary SLS (Space Launch System) the most powerful rocket ever, even better than the Saturn V rocket (supposed to be the strongest till date), its payload mass will be more than 40 tons (roughly weight of eight African elephants!), The third one is, the Gateway, a small lunar station orbiting the moon in a halo orbit. My view on this is that it will probably work, as NASA has a pretty large budget for it, but they cannot afford to make any mistakes in it as they are already delayed as the SLS rocket was originally set to launch in 2017. If Artemis does work, it will be the next landmark in deep space exploration and a step in the mission to go to Mars. All the Best NASA………………