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Moon a stepping stone to the universe

Fifty years after Apollo 11, NASA is working to land astronauts on the Moon again in the next decade. "Our goal 50 years ago was to prove we could land humans on the Moon and return them safely to Earth," NASA's Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Communications and Navigation, Badri Younes, said during a recent visit to Australia. "Our goal now is to return to the Moon to stay, in a sustainable way." "This time we won't go alone, but in a way that reflects the world today – with government, industry and international partners, in a global effort." CSIRO oversees the treaty relationship between Australia and the USA for spacecraft communications and tracking and has worked directly with NASA for almost 60 years. "We are going to rely to a large extent on our partnerships here in Australia as well as with other space agencies to get [to the Moon]," Mr Younes said. The new mission is called Artemis, the goddess of wilderness, and Apollo's twin sister in Greek mythology. It will employ reusable spacecraft and process the Moon's own material for fuel and building materials. The project's first step will be to ferry supplies from Earth to build a space station orbiting the Moon. This will provide living quarters for astronauts and relay communications between the lunar surface and Earth. NASA will build new antennas at its Deep Space Network stations, including the CSIRO-managed Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. These will use light as well as radio waves to boost the bandwidth for transmitting voice, video and data. When they land on the Moon the Artemis astronauts will be the first to explore its south pole, where there are signs of water ice. But the Moon is only a stopping place on the way to NASA's ultimate goal, Mars. Voyaging to the Moon takes four days; to Mars it will take eight to 10 months. There will be huge challenges, but "fifty years ago, we demonstrated to the world that … human beings are capable of making the impossible, very possible," Mr Younes said. "And we also demonstrated that you should dream big." Australia may receive the signals from the first humans on Mars. "We're often in the best position to talk to NASA's spacecraft," Dr Sarah Pearce, the deputy director for astronomy and space science at CSIRO said. "And so when people walk on Mars, it's quite feasible those images could come down to Australia, as they did when people first walked on the Moon."

Moon a stepping stone to the universe

  • NEW FRONTIERS: An artists impression of the Orion spacecraft (left) approaching a space station orbiting the Moon during the Artemis program. Picture: NASA

  • TRAILBLAZERS: The first three commercial lunar landers selected for the Artemis mission, displayed at NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center on May 31, 2019. Each commercial lander will carry NASA payloads that will conduct scientific investigations and demonstrate advanced technologies on the lunar surface, paving the way for NASA astronauts to land on the lunar surface by 2024. Picture: NASA/Goddard/Rebecca Roth

    TRAILBLAZERS: The first three commercial lunar landers selected for the Artemis mission, displayed at NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center on May 31, 2019. Each commercial lander will carry NASA payloads that will conduct scientific investigations and demonstrate advanced technologies on the lunar surface, paving the way for NASA astronauts to land on the lunar surface by 2024. Picture: NASA/Goddard/Rebecca Roth

  • IMAGE OF THE FUTURE: An artists impression of a crewed lunar lander for NASAs Artemis mission. Picture: NASA

    IMAGE OF THE FUTURE: An artists impression of a crewed lunar lander for NASAs Artemis mission. Picture: NASA

  • FUEL TO BURN: A hydrogen tank for NASAs new deep space rocket, the Space Launch System, being loaded into a test stand at NASAs Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, on January 14, 2019. Picture: NASA

    FUEL TO BURN: A hydrogen tank for NASAs new deep space rocket, the Space Launch System, being loaded into a test stand at NASAs Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, on January 14, 2019. Picture: NASA

Fifty years after Apollo 11, NASA is working to land astronauts on the Moon again in the next decade.

"Our goal 50 years ago was to prove we could land humans on the Moon and return them safely to Earth," NASA's Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Communications and Navigation, Badri Younes, said during a recent visit to Australia. Read More – Source

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