NASA going back to the Moon



NASA’s Orion flickr photo stream includes a number of images from the spacecraft’s recent flight. Here, “Artemis I, Flight Day 5. Orion spacecraft takes a selfie while approaching the Moon ahead of the outbound powered flyby – a burn of Orion’s main engine that gets us into lunar orbit. During this maneuver Orion came within 81 miles of the lunar surface.”

The National Aeronautics Space Administration, or NASA, has begun a five-year return mission to the Moon.

Project Artemis began with the launch of ship Orion on Nov. 16, 2022. Orion took pictures and returned to Earth Dec. 11, 2022.

There will be three Artemis missions in all, including a manned launch and landing. NASA hopes to establish a long-term presence on the Moon and eventually send astronauts to Mars.

According to NASA’s Project Artemis website, “We’re going back to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers: the Artemis Generation. While maintaining American leadership in exploration, we will build a global alliance and explore deep space for the benefit of all.”

Neil Armstrong was the first human being to leave a footprint on the Moon. (NASA)

NASA is a civil aerospace research and development organization that was built on the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. NASA officially formed October 1, 1958, to expand on technology that would drive forward space robotics and human spaceflight.

NASA’s first high profile mission was Project Mercury, where it tested whether humans could even survive space. Following was Project Gemini, which strategized a way to make a trip to the Moon. Project Apollo eventually completed that objective.

The mission for the Moon landing was Apollo 11, which launched on July 16, 1969, at 9:32 a.m. The Apollo crew consisted of commander Neil Armstrong, lunar module pilot Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr., and command module pilot Michael Collins.

The Apollo 11 lunar module landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969, at 4:17 p.m. Armstrong climbed down the lunar module ladder and became the first person to set foot on the lunar surface several hours later, at 10:56 p.m.

Millions of people back on Earth listened to Armstrong say to NASA Mission Control: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

After that, the crew left a plaque with the words, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

The Apollo 11 crew splashes down in the Pacific Ocean July 24, 2969. (NASA)

They then proceeded to land back on Earth on July 24, 1969, touching down at 12:50 p.m. in the Pacific Ocean.

With Artemis, NASA hopes to be the first to send a woman and a person of color to the Moon, “heralding a new era for space exploration and utilization.”

The United States is one of eight founding members that have signed the Artemis Accords, which “reinforce and implement the 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.” Other founding members are Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.