March 25, 2023

A new NASA rocket is about to take off for a historic mission to the moon.The Artemis 1 mission won’t land on the lunar surface, but the trip itself will be the furthest Vehicles designed for human astronauts once into space.

NASA’s Grand Tour won’t have any humans, but will have three astronauts: Helga, Zohar and Munigin Campos. they are high tech mannequins – that’s the term for a mannequin for scientific research – Full of sensors that will test the body’s response to space travel. Helga and Zohar aim to measure the effects of radiation on women’s bodies in space, and Moonikin Campos will sit in the commander’s seat to track how bumpy human crewed lunar voyages might be in the future. While these mannequins may not seem particularly impressive on their own, they will play a key role in NASA’s ambitions to build a new pathway to the moon and eventually send astronauts to Mars. They are also just one of several science experiments on the mission to better understand our understanding of space travel.

The Artemis I mission will begin Monday morning at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA is currently targeting a takeoff window between 8:33 a.m. and 10:33 a.m. ET. At that time, the Space Launch System (SLS), The strongest rocket NASA once built it, and it’s about to lift off, putting the Orion spacecraft on its nose.Once the vehicle leaves orbit, Orion will pass the Moon, then a long distance away, then turned around and returned to Earth—a journey of 1.3 million miles that would take 42 can watch launch herestarting Monday at 6:30 a.m. ET.

“This is a good demonstration that the rocket is working as intended,” Wendy Whitman Cobb, a professor at the U.S. Air Force’s School of Advanced Aeronautical and Space Studies, told Recode. Upcoming crewed missions are more confident.”

Artemis is the next generation of lunar missions.It’s part of NASA’s broader ambitions for lunar exploration, which includes astronauts trekking on the lunar surface, a lunar man Habitatand a named gatewayArtemis I also lays the groundwork for the next two missions in the Artemis program: Artemis 2 plans to send humans on a similar trip around the moon in 2024, while Artemis 3 will land the first woman and first person of color by landing to make history on the lunar surface sometime as early as 2025. All the research carried out on Artemis One – including Helga, Zohar and Munigin Campos – was done in preparation for later missions.

Everyone on Artemis 1

NASA’s trip to the moon, SLS, is designed to carry extremely heavy payloads.The rocket is only a few meters tall statue of Libertyand can generate 8.8 million pounds of thrust. Like other launch systems, SLS consists of several distinct stages, each of which functions to overcome Earth’s gravity, break through the atmosphere, and reach outer space.To achieve this, SLS includes Dual solid rocket boostersand ASA 212-foot high core stage overflowing Over 700,000 gallons Liquid oxygen and liquid is largest core stage NASA used to make it.

The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft as seen from the Rocco A. Petrone Launch Control Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Joel Kowsky/NASA via Getty Images

After takeoff, the booster will launch about 2 minutes Before separating from the vehicle, falling back to the ground and landing in the Atlantic Ocean. After eight minutes, the core phase does the same. At that point, the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) will take over and circle the Earth.ICPS will provide Orion about 90 minutes into the flight “Big push” It needs to start flying in the direction of the moon and then fall down.

Although technically new, SLS is based on old technology.its several components, including its main engine, either from or based on a system used by NASA’s space shuttle program, which ended in 2011. While other space launches have begun using reusable or at least partially reusable rocket boosters, Monday’s SLS will fly just once. This distinguishes SLS from Starship, SpaceX’s super-heavy launch vehicle designed for lunar missions. SpaceX beats Blue Origin $2.9 billion in contracts Building NASA’s lunar landing system, Starship’s first orbital test flight is expected at next six months. Congressional decision to fund SLS is underway sore spot In the aerospace industry, since the project was carried out Billions over budget And it was delayed a few times, and because private companies are now developing cheaper alternatives.

“Congress has endured over-budgeting and falling behind schedule as the SLS diverts money and jobs to key congressional districts,” Whitman-Cobb explained.

Orion is widely supported, NASA’s specially designed Orion for the Artemis mission, as well as possible trips to nearby asteroids or MarsThe spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin, and from the outside it looks like a giant turkey with wing-like panels on the sides. Orion is home to the Artemis crew capsule, where astronauts will eventually spend their time.Once the spacecraft passes vetting by human astronauts, the crew module is expected to provide a variety of space travel facilities, including sleeping bagvarious new NASA recipes space food barand revised space toilet This is designed for people of zero gravity and all genders.

During this mission, the main passengers will be a series of science experiments.One test involved NASA mannequins Zohar and Helga, which were 38 pieces of plastic Designed to mimic human tissue, and more 5,600 sensors and 34 radiation detector. The presence of high levels of radiation in space has been a concern that future astronauts may face a higher risk of cancer, especially as space travel becomes longer and more ambitious. Both mannequins are designed with breasts and uterus, as women tend to be more sensitive to radiation. Zohar will also wear a specialized protective vest called AstroRed, which engineers are evaluating as a potential way to protect astronauts from radiation, including during solar flare. Helga will not receive the vest and will allow NASA to study how much AstroRed actually helped.

Orion also carries an experiment This is to test the yeast’s response to radiation. The researchers plan to store freeze-dried yeast under one of Orion’s crew seats and then expose the yeast to the liquid for three days in space. Once Orion is back on Earth, scientists will analyze the yeast’s DNA to study how it behaves. The experiment could provide insight into how humans can stay healthy in space on future trips.

A version of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, which has been downloaded to the iPad, is also hitting the road. NASA is testing Callisto, a virtual AI designed by Amazon, Cisco and Lockheed Martin communicate with astronauts. Although this technology sounds a bit like HAL 2001: A Space Odysseyengineers say the system is designed to provide assistance and companionship.

“Callisto is a standalone payload on the Orion spacecraft, and it has no control over flight controls or other mission-critical systems,” said Justin Nikolaus, Amazon’s lead Alexa experience designer.

Other aspects of the Artemis I payload are more perceptive. A plush doll version of the Shaun the Sheep character from the Wallace and Gromit series will travel in Orion.One snoopy doll Dressed in astronaut costume, and the nib that Charles M. Schultz used to paint the Peanuts series, wrapped in the comic.the moment from Apollo 11 missionIt was also underway in the 1960s when the first humans were sent to the lunar surface, including a small sample of lunar dust and an engine.

beyond the moon

Some of Artemis I’s most important research projects won’t return to Earth. The mission includes plans to launch 10 tiny satellites called CubeSats into lunar orbit. The satellites will collect data that NASA and private companies can eventually use to navigate on and around the Moon.

a satellite, Infraredwill study the safety of the lunar surface through infrared imaging, generating information that may affect the lunar surface Astronauts will eventually travel. a satellite called lunar ice, will attempt to probe the lunar water source, which NASA could eventually use as a resource. another satellite, NEA Scout, will travel to a small nearby asteroid, a side trip that could inform future crewed missions to other asteroids.The satellite will be launched by another component, called the Orion stage adapter, only after the spacecraft is complete safe distance.

The Orion spacecraft is loaded onto a NASA aircraft on Nov. 21, 2019, on the runway at Kennedy Space Center’s Florida Space Operations Launch and Landing Facility.
Courtesy of NASA

These satellites are a reminder that NASA’s interest in the moon goes far beyond that. The Artemis program is laying the groundwork for unprecedented levels of activity on the lunar surface, including a human stronghold, a series of nuclear reactors and mining operations. NASA has made it clear that it wants to develop the lunar economy, and the space agency has also formulated the “Artemis Agreement”, which is a set of principles for exploring the moon, more than 20 countries Join now.

Ultimately, NASA plans to turn the moon into a pit stop for an even more ambitious journey: a human mission to Mars. Now, that seems likely to happen sometime in the late 2030s. But while many of these plans are far off, it’s clear that the Artemis program was far more than a repetition of the Apollo program.

“Apollo was a political act in the context of the Cold War to show the world the strength of the United States. The first moon landing was clearly a race against the Soviet Union. Once we landed on the moon for the first time, the reason for continuing to the moon disappeared. ,” explained John Logsdon, founder of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. “Artemis is intended as the first in a long-term plan for human exploration.”

Of course, it all depends on the Artemis 1 mission going smoothly. NASA still needs to assess how well the SLS and Orion will work together during liftoff. The space agency also needs to study how Orion survives its atmosphere, which we won’t know for a long time. If all goes well, the Orion capsule, along with its rambling scientific experiment payload and galactic gadgets, will return to Earth and splash down in the Pacific Ocean on October 10.

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