NASA chooses technology firm Maxar for lunar platform project

26 Mai, 2019, 02:44 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Water molecules near the moon hint that our natural satellite has water under its

A top NASA executive hired in April to guide strategy for returning astronauts to the moon by 2024 has resigned, the space agency said on Thursday, the culmination of internal strife and dwindling congressional support for the lunar initiative.

In a nod to NASA's aim of putting the first female on the moon, the 2024 mission was dubbed Artemis, after the ancient Greek goddess.

NASA wants to land humans on the moon in just five years - and the agency is ready to announce the first company that will help the Artemis program build a lunar outpost for those astronauts.

In addition to these missions, which will be all NASA's efforts, there will be five launches carrying the building blocks of the lunar mini-station "Gateway" which will serve as a staging point for the Moon landing. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has said that no money would be taken from other NASA programs to fund Artemis. Following the completion of the power and propulsion element, habitation, logistics and airlock capabilities will be added.

"This system requires much less propellant than traditional chemical systems, which will allow the Gateway to move more mass around the Moon, like a human landing system and large modules for living and working in orbit". When the researchers heated this material with a laser to simulate the heat caused by micrometeorite impacts that strikes the surface of the moon, they discovered that the samples released a burst of ions that matching that of ionized heavy water (deuterium oxide), which is basically water with made from the deuterium isotope of hydrogen that can be used in certain types of nuclear reactors but isn't potable.

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The announcement come two months after NASA was forced to pull its first ever all-female space walk because of issues with the spacesuit sizes.

"The goal here is speed", Bridenstine said, "2024 is right around the corner".

NASA had previously aimed to return crewed spacecraft to the lunar surface by 2028, after first putting a "Gateway" station into orbit around the moon by 2024.

"We're not owning the hardware, we're buying the service", said Bridenstine of the lander.

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