NASA’s goal of sending astronauts back to the moon by 2025 as part of its Artemis program has been making headlines for quite some time. The space agency had previously unveiled a plan to build a single Artemis Base Camp at the lunar south pole. However, recent developments indicate that NASA might be changing its approach.
NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return astronauts to the moon by 2025, may build multiple moon bases instead of one single base camp, according to Jim Free, NASA’s associate administrator for exploration systems development. NASA may work with international partners to spread out the moon camps across the lunar surface for greater science and exploration diversity. The first crewed Artemis moon landing, Artemis 3, is planned for sometime in 2025. NASA hopes to build permanent habitats on the surface during later missions, such as Artemis 7, 8, and 9.
Multiple Moon Bases Instead of a Single Base Camp
Jim Free, NASA’s associate administrator for exploration systems development, stated that NASA may build more than one moon base instead of a single Artemis Base Camp. The agency is considering a distributed approach with multiple moon bases to maximize science and exploration. NASA is also looking into the possibility of international partners like the European Space Agency, Canada, and Japan contributing to the project.
Why Multiple Bases are Better?
Free stated that having multiple, smaller Artemis bases on the moon would yield better science and access to the lunar surface. The primary moon base at the lunar south pole would serve as a hub for crewed Artemis moon landings and support a team of four astronauts for up to a week at a time. However, the extra habitats won’t be built anytime soon, according to Free.
Artemis Missions Timeline
NASA’s next Artemis mission, Artemis 2, will launch four astronauts around the moon no earlier than November 2024. The first crewed Artemis moon landing, Artemis 3, is planned for 2025. NASA hopes to build permanent habitats on the surface during later missions, such as Artemis 7, 8, and 9.
NASA’s deputy administrator, Pam Melroy, is set to speak at the Space Symposium to discuss the progress of the Artemis program and NASA’s plans for sustained human exploration throughout the solar system. The speech will provide more insight into NASA’s planned architecture for Artemis moon missions, plans for Mars, and beyond. The recent developments indicate that NASA’s approach to the Artemis program is evolving, and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for this ambitious program.
This development opens up several research scopes for scientists and researchers. For instance, researchers can explore the feasibility and viability of establishing multiple moon bases and the challenges involved in building and maintaining them. The study of the impact of a long-term human presence on the lunar surface can also be conducted, and the resources available on the moon, such as water ice, can be studied in greater detail. Moreover, the study of the lunar environment and its potential for supporting life can be expanded.