NASA is planning to return astronauts to the moon as early as 2025.
The space agency has already selected the space exploration company SpaceX to build its first moon lander, and in 2022 asked other companies to propose more landers.
Landing on the moon is a challenging feat, but NASA is confident that it can be done. The space agency has been developing new technologies that will make it easier to land on the moon, such as terrain relative navigation, which uses a camera to map the ground during the descent.
NASA’s goal is to land astronauts on the lunar south pole, where scientists believe there is ice and other valuable resources. The lunar south pole is a challenging place to land, but NASA is confident that its new technologies will make it possible.
The absence of GPS compounds the challenge. Unlike Earth, the moon lacks a satellite network. Instead, astronauts must rely on onboard computers for navigation, a method reminiscent of the Apollo era.
Artemis, NASA’s new lunar mission, poses additional complexities. Landing within a crater at the moon’s south pole, astronauts face perpetual shadows and distorted terrain due to oblique sunlight. These obstacles make precision landing even more intricate.
NASA’s Artemis program aims to establish a long-term presence on the lunar surface. Hence, NASA believes that the moon is a stepping stone to Mars, and that the technologies developed for the Artemis program will be essential for future missions to the red planet.
The sources of this piece include an article in Mashable.