Artemis – this is the name of the new American manned space flight program to the moon. NASA wants to send people to Earth’s satellite in 2024. It will be the first such trip in over fifty years. The additional funds found in the budget by the US president will help in this.
The last time a person walked on the surface of the moon was on December 1972 . It was Eugene Cernan, commander of the Apollo 17 mission, the last manned lunar mission of the Americans. Altogether, 12 astronauts stood on the moon in four years of the program. Now next ones, including the first woman, are to join the list.
Donald Trump adds to NASA’s budget
This, of course, comes with huge costs. However, the Donald Trump administration , which has already cut funding for space projects related to climate change research, is not going to save on our satellite conquest. On Monday, the US president proposed an amendment to the budget for the fiscal year 2020, which grants NASA further funds.
“I am updating my budget to include an additional $ 1.6 billion, so that we can return to Space in a GREAT STYLE,”
This money is to be shifted from the surplus from the federal Pell Grant program. This program helps poorer students pay for college. Trump sent the proposal to Congress. There should not be a problem with its approval. It’s about unused funds. Together with the 21 billion dollars that the American space agency had already received in their budget, the additional ones are to accelerate plans to send people to the Moon and then to Mars.
This year, NASA has already spent 4.5 billion dollars on the construction of several elements of the new program – the Orion ship , a large rocket launcher and a small moon orbital station. How much does the whole program cost? Nobody dares to assess it for now. NASA chief Jim Bridenstine at a press conference would answer such a question: “I would like to know it myself.” It is known that Americans want to land at the South Pole, in a difficult, cold region. However, there is also so-called water ice, which NASA would like to turn into fuel for spacecraft.
Artemis, sister of Apollo
The new manned space flight program to the moon was named Artemida. Artemis was the Greek goddess, twin sister of Apollo, in whose name the first such program from 1969-1972 was chosen. This summer (July 20), NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first human landing on the moon. Therefore, the moment to announce the resumption of conquest was perfect.
There is more date coincidence. 2024 would be the last year of Donald Trump’s second term , if he managed to win the election again – which, it can be presumed, he wants. On Monday, the president said that he wanted NASA to lead another manned satellite expedition in five years, in 2024.
NASA has been planning man’s return to the moon for some time. Except that she set for a slightly later date – 2028. Meeting Trump’s challenge would therefore mean a lot of acceleration – and certainly higher costs.
Especially that the construction of the SLS (Space Launch System) launch rocket, which is to be used in the program, is significantly delaying. The date of the first test flight has been moved several times – most recently to June next year. Originally, it was to be ready by the end of 2017. It is not known, however, whether this deadline will be met.
Perhaps this is why NASA administrator admitted on March 13 that the agency is considering replacing the rocket with a commercial one. Very quickly, because the day after he withdrew from it, emphasizing that the analysis was only a “preventive measure”, it is about completing the schedule. However, NASA is still supporting the construction of SLS, which is commissioned by Boeing. The agency has already spent nearly $ 12 billion on SLS.
The space race starts again
Recently, US Vice President Mike Pence spoke about the rapid return of people to Earth’s satellite . At the end of March this year, at a meeting of the National Space Council, he said: “We are in a space race today, just as we were in the 1960s. (…) Just as the United States was the first nation to reach the moon in the 20th century, so will we be the first nation to return to the moon in the 21st century.” Such statements show that American politicians feel the breath of competition on their backs – and this is not about Russia.
After the end of the Cold War, the space race for – then mainly – prestige ceased to pay. Scientific research could be conducted much cheaper, with the help of probes, without the participation of people. This race has started again on more than one front. Again, more and more ambitions in space have the Russians announced a manned flight to the moon in 2029.
More and more participants join the cold war participants of the space competition. First of all, China. This year, the Chinese were the first to send a probe with a rover to the so-called “dark side” of the Moon, i.e. the one invisible from Earth. Some time later, Chinese scientists reported that one of the plants placed on it had germinated – cotton. This is the first such experiment.
So far, we have managed to grow plants in space, but only at the International Space Station. Another Chinese probe is expected to fly to the moon later this year. It’s not everything. In a few years, Beijing wants to have its own space station, in just over 10 to send its manned mission to the moon. They are also thinking about building a colony there. In perspective, there is also – which is obvious to all cosmic powers – a trip to Mars.
Great powers are not enough. Private companies also fell into the cosmic fever. However, it can really be said that they have awakened it again. The ideas of Elon Musk at first seemed crazy, but now his SpaceX is already carrying out a contract for NASA for the delivery of goods to the International Space Station and is working on building a manned ship that American astronauts could change – now they are using Russian.
Ultimately, and Musk is planning a flight to Mars . But not only him. The richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos , is on his heels with his company Blue Origin. There are also many others willing to take a piece of space cake, where you can also make money.