NASA confirms its plans to send astronauts to the Moon in 2024

NASA has confirmed that will send astronauts to the lunar surface in 2024 in an update of the Artemisa Plan, following a series of critical contract awards and engineering milestones. It is not ruled out that the arrival to the Moon can be done aboard a lander prearranged in orbit, or docking previously at the Gateway Orbital Outpost if already available, and accessed from there on a lander.

«In 2024, Artemis III will be el return of humanity to the surface of the Moon, landing the first astronauts at the lunar South Pole. Following launch at SLS, astronauts will travel about 350,000 kilometers to lunar orbit aboard Orion, at which point they will either directly board one of the new commercial human landing systems, or dock at the Gateway orbital outpost to inspect and collect supplies before boarding the landing system for expedition to the surface, ”explains the updated plan, which is published 18 months after President Trump’s appointment.

Once on the surface, wearing spacesuits that allow greater flexibility and movement than their Apollo predecessors, the astronauts They will collect samples and conduct a variety of science experiments over the course of nearly seven days. Using the lander, they will return to lunar orbit before returning to Earth aboard the Orion.

Before this 2024 mission, they will have flown into space Artemis I, with the SLS rocket and the Orion capsule unmanned, on a round trip to the lunar neighborhood in 2021, followed by Athemis II, already with astronauts and approach operations. to the lunar surface in 2023.

While preparing for and conducting these flight test missions, NASA intends advanced robotics, using commercial delivery services to send dozens of new scientific research and technology demonstrations to the Moon twice a year starting in 2021.

As for Gateway, NASA will integrate the first two components for launch, the power and propulsion element and the habitation and logistics outpost, in 2023. This base will pairthe Gateway will be able to operate autonomously, conducting remote science experiments when astronauts are not on board. NASA has selected the first two sets of science instruments to conduct space weather investigations in lunar orbit prior to crew visits.

While NASA has not made a final decision to use the Gateway for Artemis III, Artemis IV and beyond they will send a crew aboard the Orion to dock at the Gateway, where two crew members can stay aboard the orbiting spacecraft while two go to the surface. Over time, the outpost will evolve, with new modules added by international partners, allowing crew members to perform longer and longer lunar missions.

On the surface, an incremental construction of infrastructure will continue at the end of this decade, which will allow longer surface expeditions with more crew. That concept calls for an Artemis Base Camp that would include new rovers, power systems, habitats and more on the surface for long-term exploration of the Moon.

Throughout the Artemis program, robots and humans will seek out, and possibly extract, resources such as water that can be converted into other usable resources, including oxygen and fuel. By refining precision landing technologies and developing new mobility capabilities, astronauts will travel greater distances and explore new regions of the Moon, NASA says.