The first mission of the Artemis program, which aims to send men back to the Moon, should be launched at the end of the month. Its goal will be to search for water on the surface of our satellite….
The Artemis 1 mission is about to be launched. NASA has deployed its Orion capsule on top of the SLS launcher. Although the American space agency had to interrupt the test of its rocket following a problem of pressurization of the tank, the launch should take place on August 29. The main objective of the mission is to put the Orion spacecraft into lunar orbit without a crew. But this one also embarks several microsatellites, in charge of mapping the water-rich zones.
The rocket will carry two CubeSats. These are tiny satellites, about the size of a shoebox. These, named Lunar IceCube and Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper (LunaH-Map), will help scientists establish an ideal landing zone for future manned Artemis missions. Next year, NASA is expected to launch a robotic mission with the same objective.
NASA prepares for future manned missions
The discovery of water is crucial to a long-duration facility, as astronauts hope to use the ice to produce breathable air and rocket fuel. Mark Lupisella, head of exploration research and development at NASA, thus states: “This is not only important for science, but it could also be important for reducing the cost of human missions in the long run.”
The mission will also test a new ion propulsion thruster. Should this test be successful, it would represent a significant advance in the field. NASA says, “The ion propulsion system is an innovative technology that will open the door to exploration of the solar system with small satellite platforms, ushering in a new era of space exploration.”