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NASA says astronauts will be living on moon by 2030

Think inhabiting the moon is stuff of science fiction fantasy? One NASA official reckons it will be a reality by the end of this decade, with the latest Artemis 1 mission the ‘first step.’

Astronauts could be living and working on the moon by 2030, one NASA official says.

Head of US agency Orion lunar programme, Howard Hu, reckons that humans will be able to live in specially made habitats and travel the moon in rovers.

Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg show, Hu commented that ‘certainly this decade we’re going to have people living for durations […] on the surface.’ He added ‘we are going to be sending people down to the surface and they are going to be living on that surface.’ Exciting stuff.

This might sound like a fanciful pipe dream, but NASA says its latest project, the Artemis 1, is the ‘first step’ toward long-term deep-space exploration. The rocket has the Orion spacecraft attached to the top, and was launched on Wednesday from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Orion has three fully suited mannequins inside. These will be able to test, register, and monitor the stresses and strains of the Artemis 1 mission.

Hu added that this ‘is a historic [time] for NASA and the people who love human space flight and deep-space.’

Where is Orion actually going? It will fly within sixty miles of the moon, pushing another 40,000 miles away and looping back down to Earth, landing in the Pacific Ocean on the 11th December if all goes to plan. Interestingly, Orion will travel 1.3 million miles over 25 days, the furthest a spacecraft intended for human inhabitants has ever flown.

If all goes well, it’s hoped that this first mission will act as a blueprint for two more follow ups, Artemis 2 and 3. The third mission may not launch until 2026, but it will return humans to the moon for the first time since 1972.

NASA plans to have the first woman and person of colour visit the moon during this mission.

In addition, the Artemis programme eventually plans to construct the Lunar Gateway, which will be a space station orbiting the moon. It’s all a sci-fi dream, eh?

Hu says that ‘moving forward is really to Mars’, and that exploration beyond our own orbit is ‘really important’. It could be an exciting decade for space travel and science. Let’s hope we’ll get similarly impressive photos from the moon as we did deep space earlier this year.


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