NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the space agency’s plans to return to the moon, known as the Artemis program.
On Monday, NASA said that four crewmembers would embark on a crucial test journey and travel around the moon, setting the stage for the agency’s anxiously awaited return to the lunar surface.
In November last year, they launched Artemis I, their first trip to the moon. However, the huge Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule were sent into space without any humans aboard. The initial Artemis I flight included sensor-laden mannequins for monitoring radiation levels and other aspects of the mission.
The spacecraft was returned to Earth after it orbited the moon for many weeks.
Many people have pondered why it took NASA half a century to return to the moon. A human being last stepped foot on the surface in 1972.
The political dangers were what stopped it from occurring. Bridenstine said the initiative was too expensive and took too long to implement.
Before returning to Earth, the crew will conduct an evaluation of the Orion spacecraft by circling the moon.
NASA has said that if the planned Artemis II mission is successful, its crew would include the first woman and person of color to step foot on the moon.
According to NASA Johnson Space Center Director Vanessa Wyche, the project lays the path for the extension of human deep space exploration and provides new prospects for scientific discoveries and commercial, industrial, and academic collaborations.
NASA claims that the Artemis missions will use cutting-edge technology to explore the lunar surface in unprecedented depth.
They assert that they will build the first permanent presence on the Moon with the help of international and commercial partners.
Moreover, it is expected that the next stage will be to send the first humans to Mars.