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Nasa is going back to Moon: All you need to know about its Artemis-1 mission

Nasa is going back to Moon: All you need to know about its Artemis-1 mission

It was in 1972 that humans last walked on the Moon as astronauts from the United States returned, a lull prevailed for half a century during which space exploration kept growing and machines traveled far and beyond. Some went even outside the solar system, beyond the region where our sun loses its power and impact.

While we soared through Mars and journeyed into the unknown, the Moon awaited in the vacuum. The long wait is about to come to an end as missions and possibly humans return to this alien world — this time with an aim for a permanent presence and to use it as a halt to push deeper towards Mars.

Photo Credit: Nasa

The mission that aims to take humans to the moon is Artemis. Derived from the Greek goddess Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo, the mission aims to return not just humans but also bring a settlement into the lunar world. The first step of that ambitious program is Artemis-1 as Nasa prepares to launch in the coming week.

What is Artemis-1 mission?

The Artemis-1 is a demo mission of the program which includes an uncrewed launch to the Moon and beyond. The mission is aimed at establishing the validity of the system, technology, and process that have come a long way from the Apollo era when Neil Armstrong became the first person to land on the Moon in 1969.

The Space Launch System, the main rocket, will launch with the Orion spacecraft into deep space as it escapes Earth’s gravitational pull and goes on a trajectory to the Moon. Orion will become the first spacecraft to go nearly 60,000 kilometers beyond the Moon and return in what is expected to be a 42-day mission before it splashes down on Earth.

Photo Credit: Nasa

While there will be no astronauts onboard, three test dummies are being launched to the Moon, which will gather acoustics and vibrations, and radiation data that astronauts could experience during launch and space travel. The data could help in better strategize for the mission when humans jump onboard.

What has happened so far?

So far, Nasa has attempted to launch the world’s most powerful rocket to Moon twice since August, however, the two attempts were scrubbed due to issues with the engine and leaks that were developed during loading fuel on the rocket. The rocket will run on liquid hydrogen, which requires it to be cooled at a specific temperature for it to give the desired result, and since the atmos of liquid hydrogen are very small they are difficult to handle.

During the first launch, Nasa had encountered an issue with the third engine after which the lift-off was scrubbed. However, when the engine issue was resolved, leaks marred the second launch attempt. Nasa has since then repaired and sealed the leaks that were detected on disconnect and is prepping to launch to the Moon.

When will Artemis-1 launch to Moon?

According to the current schedule, the mission is poised to launch to the Moon on September 27 during a brief launch window. It is worth mentioning that launching to Moon is not easy and the launch window open briefly based on orbital dynamics and the position of the Moon with respect to Earth.

Photo Credit: Nasa

If the launch does not happen on September 27, a second opportunity will be on October 2, however, it will be tough to maintain the health of the rocket that has now remained restricted on the launch pad for over a month and gone through several bouts if repairing in the open. The Artemis mission will bring with it new opportunities as countries join the race to not just reach the Moon but to also colonize in near future and head to Mars in what is going to be a global attempt to make humans an interplanetary species.


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