Published: 2023-01-03 17:27
Last Updated: 2023-06-07 10:51
Astronauts are on track to start living and working on the moon by 2030, according to the head of the US agency’s Orion lunar spacecraft program, Howard Hu. The Guardian reported that Hu said humans could be active on the moon for “durations” before the end of the current decade, which means there will be habitats to live in and rovers to enable them to operate and move around.
Hu told the BBC’s “Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg”: “We are going to be sending people down to the surface, and they are going to be living on that surface and doing science,” he added. He made these remarks as the 98-meter Artemis rocket took off toward the moon on its very first mission without a crew onboard. Topped with the Orion spacecraft, the rocket took off on the 2.25 million km trip from Florida carrying three mannequins, which aim to provide insight on the stresses and strains of the mission.
NASA’s Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft made its way back splashing down in the Pacific Ocean on December 11. NASA said: “Artemis 1 was a major step forward as part of NASA’s lunar exploration efforts and sets the stage for the next mission of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion to fly crew around the Moon on Artemis II.”
Notably, Artemis II will not take off before 2024 if not later and the four crew members are expected to be announced at the beginning of this year.
Appointed in charge of Nasa’s spacecraft for deep-space exploration in February, Hu said: “It’s the first step we’re taking to long-term deep-space exploration, for not just the United States but for the world. I think this is a historic day for Nasa, but it’s also a historic day for all the people who love human space flight and deep-space exploration.”
The plan is to eventually launch Artemis 3, which is not expected to take off before 2026, to finally return humans to the moon for the first time since December 1972, onboard of Apollo 17. That mission is set to land the first woman on the moon, followed by another mission that will land the first person of color after that.