NASA starts testing new Artemis spacesuits and asks 'what would you pack for the Moon'?


NASA is testing the spacesuits that will be worm by the first woman and next man to step on the Moon and have asked the public ‘what would you pack for the Moon’?

The Artemis spacesuits are being tested underwater by NASA astronauts at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston including planting a flag and taking rock samples.

The space agency plans to land astronauts on the surface of the Moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis mission – launching from the new Space Launch System rocket.

As part of the preparations for the rapidly approaching launch, NASA have asked people to share a picture of the personal items they’d pack if going to the Moon.

This could include items like a flask of tea, pot plant, books or even an instrument – but it has to fit within a tiny 5 inch by 8 inch by 2 inch carry on bag – the size astronauts going to the ISS – and possibly the Moon – are allowed to take with them.

NASA has been testing the new Artemis moonwalk space suits underwater in Houston

NASA has been testing the new Artemis moonwalk space suits underwater in Houston

The space agency plans to land astronauts on the surface of the Moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis mission - launching from the new Space Launch System rocket

The space agency plans to land astronauts on the surface of the Moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis mission – launching from the new Space Launch System rocket

Artemis is the first crewed lunar mission since Apollo – but will go further than those first short hops – including a lunar space station and an eventual human Mars trip. 

Astronauts will launch for the Moon in the Orion spaceship which will leave Earth on top of the massive Space Launch System (SLS) rocket currently being built.

Only a handful of people will step foot on the Moon – at least for some time – but NASA is giving people the chance to pretend with its #NASAMoonKit campaign. 

‘We’re excited to see what you would pack for the ultimate adventure – a trip to the Moon,’ said Bettina Inclán, NASA’s associate administrator for Communications.

‘At a time when many of us are working, teaching or learning from home, this is a unique way to learn more about the Artemis program and join NASA as we prepare for humanity’s next steps on the lunar surface.’ 

Only a handful of people will step foot on the Moon - at least for some time - but NASA is giving people the chance to pretend with its #NASAMoonKit campaign

Only a handful of people will step foot on the Moon – at least for some time – but NASA is giving people the chance to pretend with its #NASAMoonKit campaign 

 

Items people want to take to the Moon range from the simple - cameras and notebook - to the more elaborate including musical instruments and a Nintendo Switch

Items people want to take to the Moon range from the simple – cameras and notebook – to the more elaborate including musical instruments and a Nintendo Switch 

A wide range of items have already been shared by people on Twitter using the #NASAMoonKit hashtag.

They range from the sparse bags with just a notebook, pencil and camera to the more elaborate selections including Harry Potter books and a teddy bear. 

Samyukta said she would take headphones, playing cards, a phone, watch, hair bands, biscuits and stationary to the lunar surface.

Jack Phan said he would pack a Nintendo Switch, a facemask, a Roku box, music instruments and books with him to the lunar surface if given the chance. 

NASA astronauts will spend a week on the surface of the Moon when they return in 2024

NASA astronauts will spend a week on the surface of the Moon when they return in 2024

Preparations for the mission have been stepping up over the past 18 months – with companies bidding to build a lunar lander and continued testing of all the elements.

TWELVE MEN HAVE SO FAR WALKED ON THE LUNAR SURFACE 

1 + 2. Apollo 11 – July 21, 1969

Neil Armstrong made history by becoming the first person to set foot on the moon.  

Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin followed Neil Armstrong on to the surface.

3 + 4. Apollo 12 – November 19 and 20, 1969

Pete Conrad and Alan Bean were the moon walkers on the Apollo 12 mission. 

5 + 6. Apollo 14 – February 5, 1971 

Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell who were part of the Apollo 14 mission.

7 + 8. Apollo 15 – July 31, 1971

David Scott and James Irwin landed on the moon and stayed for three days, until August 2 1971.

 9 + 10. Apollo 16 – April 21 1972

John Young and Charles Duke were the next men to walk on the moon.

11 + 12. Apollo  17 – December 11, 1972

The final people to walk on the moon were Eugene (Gene) Cernan and Harrison (Jack) Schmitt. 

A lot goes in to sending humans to the Moon – there will be two ‘test’ flights before the 2024 landing – Artemis 1 will be uncrewed, Artemis 2 will do a fly by of the Moon and Artemis 3 will see a crew land on the lunar surface for the first time since 1972. 

NASA recently published a written plan detailing its Artemis program, including the latest Phase 1 plans to land astronauts on the Moon again within four years.

‘With bipartisan support from Congress, our 21st century push to the Moon is well within America’s reach,’ said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. 

‘We’re going back to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new a generation of explorers,’ he explained.

‘As we build up a sustainable presence, we’re also building momentum toward those first human steps on the Red Planet.’ 

The agency’s powerful new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), and the Orion spacecraft are closer than ever to their first integrated launch. 

The spacecraft is complete while the core stage and its attached four engines are undergoing a final series of tests that will culminate in a critical hot fire test this year.

Following a successful hot fire test, the core stage will be shipped to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for integration with the spacecraft. 

NASA will launch an SLS and an Orion together on two flight tests around the Moon to check performance, life support, and communication capabilities. 

The first mission – known as Artemis I – is on track for 2021 without astronauts, and Artemis II will fly with crew in 2023. 

Before Artemis III can land astronauts on the surface of the Moon, the spacesuits have to be tested and doing so requires a large underwater environment.

This is exactly what astronauts have been doing at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston. Preperations for the first Moonwalk in 48 years include wearing the suit underwater while ‘walking’ and even planting an American flag.  

RealHumanGames would take a broom, air pump, mask, unicorn disguise, water bottle and a salad

This user would take a set of Harry Potter books, a mobile phone, watch VR box, Air Pods, Microphone, lamp and houreglass

The items shared by Twitter users ranged from the technical – including virtual reality headsets, microphones and mobile phones – to the strange – including animals, masks, cables and brushes

‘This early testing will help determine the best complement of facilities for hardware development and requirements for future Artemis training and missions,’ said Daren Welsh, test lead for Artemis preparations. 

‘At the same time, we are going to be able to gather valuable feedback on spacewalk tools and procedures that will help inform some of the objectives for the missions.’ 

According to the NASA plan Artemis III astronauts will launch from the SLS, travel the 240,000 miles to the Moon on the Orion spaceship and board a commercially built  human landing system – or the new lunar gateway space station if it is finished.

Three US companies are bidding for the chance to build the lander that will return humans to the lunar surface: Jeff Bezos owned Blue Origin, Elon Musk owned SpaceX and Alabama firm Dynetics. 

Artemis is the first crewed lunar mission since Apollo - but will go further than those first short hops - including a lunar space station and an eventual human Mars trip

Artemis is the first crewed lunar mission since Apollo – but will go further than those first short hops – including a lunar space station and an eventual human Mars trip

Astronauts will spend a full week on the Moon in 2024 but this will increase dramatically over time, with the eventual goal of having a permanent base on the natural satellite

Astronauts will spend a full week on the Moon in 2024 but this will increase dramatically over time, with the eventual goal of having a permanent base on the natural satellite 

The astronauts will then gather supplies before boarding the landing system for their expedition to the surface – landing on the lunar South Pole.

SLS ROCKET IS THE LARGEST EVER MADE

Space Launch System, or SLS, is a rocket NASA hopes will take its astronauts back to the moon and beyond.

The rocket will have an initial lift configuration, set to launch in the mid-2020’s, followed by an upgraded ‘evolved lift capability’ that can carry heavier payloads.

Space Launch System Initial Lift Capability

– Maiden flight: Mid-2020’s

– Height: 311 feet (98 metres)

– Lift: 70 metric tons

– Weight: 2.5 million kilograms (5.5 million lbs)

Space Launch System Evolved Lift Capability

– Maiden flight: Unknown

– Height: 384 feet (117 metres)

– Lift: 130 metric tons

– Weight: 2.9 million kilograms (6.5 million lbs)

Wearing modern spacesuits that allow for greater flexibility and movement than those of their Apollo predecessors, astronauts will collect samples and conduct a range of science experiments over the course of nearly seven days. 

Using the lander, they will return to lunar orbit before ultimately heading home to Earth aboard Orion.

Work is progressing rapidly on the Gateway. NASA will integrate the first two components to launch – the power and propulsion element and the habitation and logistics outpost – in 2023. 

This foundation for the Gateway will be able to operate autonomously, conducting remote science experiments when astronauts are not aboard.  

While NASA has not made a final decision to use the Gateway for Artemis III, Artemis IV and beyond will send crew aboard Orion to dock to the Gateway, where two crew members can stay aboard the spaceship in orbit while two go to the surface. 

Over time, the outpost will evolve, with new modules added by international partners, allowing crew members to conduct increasingly longer lunar missions.

As detailed in the agency’s concept for surface sustainability earlier this year, an incremental buildup of infrastructure on the surface will follow later this decade, allowing for longer surface expeditions with more crew. 

READ  Scientists create the first geological map of the lunar surface

That concept calls for an Artemis Base Camp that would include new rovers, power systems, habitats, and more on the surface for long-term exploration of the Moon.

Throughout the Artemis program, robots and humans will search for, and potentially extract, resources such as water that can be converted into other usable resources, including oxygen and fuel. 

By fine-tuning precision landing technologies as well as developing new mobility capabilities, astronauts will travel farther and explore new regions of the Moon.  

NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis mission

Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology. 

NASA has chosen her to personify its path back to the Moon, which will see astronauts return to the lunar surface by 2024 –  including the first woman and the next man.

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars. 

Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  

Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed flight that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond. 

During this flight, the spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown.

It will travel 280,000 miles (450,600 km) from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the Moon over the course of about a three-week mission. 

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars. This graphic explains the various stages of the mission

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars. This graphic explains the various stages of the mission

Orion will stay in space longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before. 

With this first exploration mission, NASA is leading the next steps of human exploration into deep space where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems near the Moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars. 

The will take crew on a different trajectory and test Orion’s critical systems with humans aboard.

The SLS rocket will from an initial configuration capable of sending more than 26 metric tons to the Moon, to a final configuration that can send at least 45 metric tons. 

Together, Orion, SLS and the ground systems at Kennedy will be able to meet the most challenging crew and cargo mission needs in deep space.

Eventually NASA seeks to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028 as a result of the Artemis mission.

The space agency hopes this colony will uncover new scientific discoveries, demonstrate new technological advancements and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy. 



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