NASA has scripted a 21st Century plan for sustained human presence on the Moon.

In a report to the National Space Council, NASA’s Artemis program sets the stage for a sustained lunar surface presence. To do this, the report calls for development of an Artemis Base Camp at the South Pole of the Moon.

A South Pole landing site has not been determined, but this image shows sites of interest near permanently shadowed regions, which may contain mission enhancing volatiles. These sites may also offer long-duration access to sunlight, direct-to-Earth communication, surface slope and roughness that will be less challenging for landers and astronauts.

Sustainable foothold

“Artemis Base Camp will be our first sustainable foothold on the lunar frontier,” moving from one to two-month stays by astronauts.

In time, Artemis Base Camp, the report explains, might also include a hopper that could deliver science and technology payloads all over the Moon and which could be operated by crew at Artemis Base Camp and refueled using locally sourced propellant.

Credit: NASA

A lunar far-side radio telescope could also be remotely emplaced and operated from Artemis Base Camp.

First humans to Mars

Furthermore, the report explains that the Artemis program will use the Moon as a testbed for crewed exploration outward, beginning with Mars.

Orion approaches an evolved Gateway.
Credit: NASA

 America’s Moon to Mars space exploration approach is a proposed multi-month split-crew operation at the Gateway and on the lunar surface that would test the agency’s concept for a human mission to the Red Planet in the 2030s.

A Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) will be a human-rated, unpressurized (unenclosed) rover that will be used to help astronauts explore and conduct experiments at the lunar South Pole.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To review NASA’s Plan for “Sustained Lunar Exploration and Development” go to:

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/a_sustained_lunar_presence_nspc_report4220final.pdf

 

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