NASA’s Artemis 1 lunar mission is well underway and will prepare the US space agency to return humans to the lunar surface.
With Nasa sites determined to get back exploring more on the moon, Nasa astronaut Stan Love spoke to The US Sun about what she hopes to find.
NASA’s Orion spacecraft, part of the Artemis 1 mission, made it to the moon this month[/caption]
Love began by explaining how the moon might actually teach us more about Earth.
He told The US Sun: “The moon’s south pole also hosts the largest impact crater resource system. So if you flip the moon, the entire southern portion of the moon’s south side, stretching from the equator to the south pole, is an impact crater.
“It’s called the South Pole-Aitken Basin, and it dug 8 miles (13 km) deep into the moon’s mantle, which, according to the least bad theory of lunar formation, is composed of the earth’s mantle.
“We don’t know much about what’s going on in the mantle beneath our feet because it’s too deep and too hot, but we might be able to find out from the moon.”
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Love also explained how important finding moon resources could be.
He told us: “We would also like to know what natural resources are available, especially volatiles, water, carbon dioxide, ammonia, which are common in asteroids and comets.
“The moon itself is pretty dry, but if there’s deposits of that stuff up there.
“These volatile elements can be turned into oxygen for breathing, drinking water, rocket fuel and all sorts of things that we need to explore in space that are already on the moon.
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“So we can use them on the moon. And launching things from the moon is a lot less energy consuming than launching things from Earth, so we can really kickstart a lunar resource economy if we can find those things there and we’ll look into it.”
Once Artemis 1’s Orion capsule lands on Earth later this year, Nasa will be able to extract data from it and begin planning Artemis 2.
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Artemis 2 will be a manned mission and will see astronauts shoot around the moon for the first time in decades.
That will lead the way to Artemis 3, where hopefully the first woman and the first person of color will stand on the lunar surface.