Topic covered: Awareness in space.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Key features, objectives and significance of the mission, previous missions.
Context: NASA announces graduating class of 11 astronauts for upcoming space missions including the Artemis Mission.
The team includes an Indian American- Raja Chari.
NASA wants to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon by the year 2024, which it plans on doing through the Artemis lunar exploration program.
ARTEMIS stands for Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of Moon’s Interaction with the Sun.
The mission was named Artemis after the Greek mythological goddess of the Moon and twin sister to Apollo, namesake of the program that sent 12 American astronauts to the Moon between 1969 and 1972.
The main objective is to measure what happens when the Sun’s radiation hits our rocky moon, where there is no magnetic field to protect it.
For the Artemis program, NASA’s new rocket called the Space Launch System (SLS) will send astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft a quarter of a million miles away from Earth to the lunar orbit.
Once astronauts dock Orion at the Gateway — which is a small spaceship in orbit around the moon — the astronauts will be able to live and work around the Moon, and from the spaceship, astronauts will take expeditions to the surface of the Moon.
Lunar missions- key facts:
- Before the US sent the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, it sent three classes of robotic missions between 1961 and 1968.
- On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to step on the Moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission.
- After July 1969, 12 American astronauts walked on the surface of the Moon until 1972.
- In 1959, the Soviet Union’s uncrewed Luna 1 and 2 became the first rover to visit the Moon. Since then, seven nations have followed suit.
- In the 1990s, the US resumed lunar exploration with robotic missions Clementine and Lunar Prospector.
- In 2009, it began a new series of robotic lunar missions with the launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS).
- In 2011, NASA began the ARTEMIS (Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence, and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun) mission using a pair of repurposed spacecraft and in 2012 the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft studied the Moon’s gravity.
- Apart from the US, the European Space Agency, Japan, China, and India have sent missions to explore the Moon.
- China landed two rovers on the surface, which includes the first-ever landing on the Moon’s far side in 2019.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently announced India’s third lunar mission Chandrayaan-3, which will comprise a lander and a rover.
Sources: Indian Express.