Why go back to the first Moon and not Mars?

On September 12, 1962, then WE President John F Kennedy has informed the public of his plans to put a man on the Moon by the end of the decade.

It was the height of the Cold War and the US needed a big victory to prove its space supremacy after the Soviets launched the first. satellite and put the first man in orbit.

Kennedy told 40,000 Everyone at Rice University, “because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one that we do not want to delay, and one that we intend to win. “

60 years passed, USA is about to launch the first mission back to the Moon, Artemis. But why repeat what has already been done?

Criticism has grown in recent years, from Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, for example, and Mars Society founder Robert Zubrin, who have long been in favor of a U.S. mission to Mars. .

But NASA reconquest argument Moon is a must before a trip to the Red Planet. Here’s why.

– Long space mission –

NASA wants to develop a sustainable human presence on the Moon, with missions lasting several weeks – compared to just a few days for Apollo.

Goal: to better understand how to prepare for a multi-year trip to Mars.

In deep space, the radiation is much more intense and poses a real threat to Health.

Low Earth orbit, where the International Space Station (ISS) operates, is partially protected from radiation by the Earth’s magnetic field, unlike on the Moon.

Since the first Artemis mission, many experiments have been planned to study the effects of this radiation on living organisms, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the radiation vest.

Furthermore, while the ISS can often be refueled, trips to the Moon – thousands of times further away – are much more complicated.

To avoid carrying everything around and save money, NASA wanted to learn how to use existing surface resources.

In particular, water in the form of ice, which has been confirmed to exist at the lunar south pole, can be converted into rocket fuel by cracking it into separate hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

– Testing new devices –

NASA also wants to test on the Moon technologies that will continue to develop on Mars. First, the new spacesuit for spacewalkers.

Their design has been assigned to the company Axiom Space for the first mission to land on the Moon, as early as 2025.

Other needs: vehicles – both pressurized and non-pressurized – for astronauts to move around, as well as habitat.

Finally, for sustainable access to energy, NASA is working on developing portable nuclear fission systems.

It will be much easier to deal with any problems that arise on the Moon, just a few days away, than it is on Marscan only be achieved in as little as a few months.

– Set up a waypoint –

A key pillar of the Artemis program is the construction of a space station in orbit around the Moon, called Gateway, which will act as a relay station before the trip to Mars.

Sean Fuller, the Gateway program manager, told AFP all the necessary equipment could be sent there in “multiple launches”, before leaving with the crew for the long voyage.

“It’s like you’re stopping at your gas station to make sure you get all the stuff, and then you’re on your way.”

– Maintaining leadership over China –

Besides Mars, another reason the Americans gave to settle on the Moon was to do so before the Chinese, Who plans to send taikonauts by 2030.

China is America’s main competitor today as Russia’s once proud space program has waned.

“We don’t want China to suddenly go there and say, ‘This is our exclusive territory,'” NASA boss Bill Nelson said in a recent interview.

– For the sake of science –

While the Apollo missions brought back The earth nearly 400 kg of lunar rock, the new samples will help us gain a deeper understanding of this celestial body and its formation.

“The samples we collected during the Apollo missions changed the way we see our solar system” astronaut Jessica Meir told AFP. “I think we can expect that from the Artemis show as well.”

She also looks forward to further scientific and technological breakthroughs, just like in the Apollo era.

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