NASA Commander shares what’s in store for the next moon mission and future of space exploration

Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon throughout the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. (NASA)

Dustin Bass

The American Essence

On December 14, 1972, surrounded by darkness and light-weight and standing the place solely 11 others had ever stood earlier than, Gene Cernan grew to become the final particular person to stroll on the moon. As he ready to depart, he introduced over the radio, “As we depart the moon at Taurus-Littrow, we depart as we got here, and God keen, as we will return, with peace and hope for all mankind.”

Cernan, commander of the Apollo 17 mission, died in 2017 and by no means bought to witness one other return to the moon. That hope of returning, nonetheless, stays very a lot alive at NASA, and with the Artemis missions, mankind will as soon as once more take that enormous leap to the moon.

The Artemis Missions

The primary of the Artemis missions came about on November 16, 2022, with the unmanned Orion spacecraft touring greater than 1.4 million miles over the course of 25 days. The spacecraft traveled 1000’s of miles past and across the moon earlier than it reentered the Earth’s environment at practically 25,000 miles per hour, lastly splashing down into the Pacific Ocean.


The subsequent mission, Artemis II, is scheduled for a 10-day flight across the moon in November 2024 with a crew of 4: mission commander Reid Wiseman, pilot Victor Glover, mission specialist Christina Koch, and the Canadian House Company’s mission specialist Jeremy Hansen. For the People, it will likely be a return to area, however even for them, humanity has by no means gone this distant from Earth earlier than. The Artemis II mission might break the report for distance traveled throughout a manned area flight.

“It’ll rely on the place the Earth-moon system is after we launch,” stated Mr. Wiseman, who has been a NASA astronaut since 2009. Apollo 13 presently holds the report, at 249,205 miles from Earth; Artemis II might find yourself reaching 10,000 miles farther. “Hopefully a yr later, we’ll eclipse it once more, and a yr after that we’ll eclipse it once more,” he stated of future NASA missions.

The Artemis II mission is the start of what’s anticipated to be not only a return to the moon, however ultimately, the institution of a base camp on the lunar floor, and a future journey to Mars. NASA’s targets are lofty, and Wiseman believes that these targets aren’t simply achievable, however inevitable.

“I believe we’re undoubtedly humankind dwelling on the moon, dwelling on Mars, getting out into the photo voltaic system,” he stated. “For those who look again at what people have accomplished on Earth, we are able to’t sit nonetheless as a bunch of beings. We’re stressed and we’re very inquisitive. I believe we’ll all the time take a look at the moon and need to go there. And for these of us who discover Mars within the night time sky, we need to go there. I might like to go to the moons of Saturn and get up in my front room and see the rings of Saturn within the morning. I believe that’s simply the place we’re headed. We’re by no means going to stop.”

Copyright 2024. Reprinted with permission from the Epoch Occasions/The American Essence

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