“We are back on the Moon after half a century”: NASA chief said if mission is successful, permanent bases will be created

NASA Administrator, Bill Nelson, expressed his enthusiasm for the historic Artemis II mission to lunar orbit, The first manned satellite in more than 50 years, and said that “we return” to “learn to live in a deep space environment for long periods of time.”

“We’re going back to the moon, to a different moon,” with the next objective on Mars and “return safely,” Nelson said during a press conference at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, accompanied by officials of the US space agency and the crew of the Artemis II.

The four Artemis II astronauts today saw the Orion capsule that is expected to transport them in November 2024 to space, an “important step in our return to the Moon” and “venturing into the cosmos,” Nelson said.

He said that, however, it is “a really different Moon”, since “we return with commercial and international partners” and with an international community enthusiastic about this challenge of deep space.

He pointed out that, if this mission around the Moon is successfully completed, NASA’s lunar program’s Artemis III mission will land on the satellite’s south pole.

In this context of return to the Moon and Creation of permanent bases On his surface, Nelson acknowledged that the United States is in a “space race with China” to get there sooner: “I don’t want China to get to the south pole first and say, ‘It’s ours. Get out.'”

“We want to be sure that it is available to everyone and we want to protect the interests of the international community,” he said.

He remembered the words of John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) and his commitment to space exploration and travel to the Moon.

“He told us to go to the moon, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard. And space is hard. It is overcoming this harsh environment that will fill us as discoverers.” “That’s why we’re going to go back to the Moon and then travel to Mars.” he said.

For her part, the deputy administrator of NASA, Pam Melroy, He highlighted the “crucial first step” that involves “concentrating on what are the objectives that must be tested on the Moon” to “be ready before traveling to Mars.”

“That’s why we explore, to learn more about the universe, our solar system, our Earth and ourselves,” Melroy said after referring to some “exciting” experiments that the Artemis II crew will carry out focused on “radiation”.

In that context, the commander of the Artemis II mission, the NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, he stressed that “the measure of success” of Artemis II is “to see our colleagues on the lunar surface. And then see people following in our footsteps walking on Mars” and returning “to Earth.

“That’s the measure of success for us,” said Wiseman, who humbly said that Artemis II “is the smallest footnote in the campaign” of the Artemis program.

NASA’s Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development, Jim Free, noted that they have analyzed and reviewed all the objectives of the mission, also the “anomalies to decide if we are on the right track for Artemis II.”

Being a “great first step” the previous mission, the Artemis I, which had to face Several stoppages due to the pandemic and other issues before being successfully completed in December 2022, Free highlighted the “crew module” as the “critical path right now.”

“We have to assemble and test the crew module … And it’s on the right track. Artemis I was a great mission and we learned a lot from it. The success was incredible,” he added, to emphasize that “new hardware” is being used, because it depends on it that we can be warned “when things are not good.”

“Our most important concern is for The four people next to me (Artemis II astronauts), they depend on us,” he said.

The four members of Artemis II will blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard an Orion capsule powered by the imposing Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket.

The crew, in addition to Commander Wiseman, is completed by the Afroamer pilotIcano Victor Glover and specialists Christina Hammockk Koch, who will become the first woman to fly beyond low-Earth orbit, and Jeremy Hansen, the latter from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

(With information from EFE)

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