NASA Plans Blockbuster Return to the Moon: A Comprehensive Guide

The US space agency, NASA, is embarking on a new journey: a historic mission to set foot back on the moon. This marks the agency’s first return since the final Apollo mission in 1972. Spanning nearly fifty years, the mission will be unrivaled in terms of its significance. As such, there’s been a great deal of speculation as to the specifics of the mission; how the agency will accomplish its ambitious aims, what kind of technology it will bring to bear, and how the mission will benefit humanity. Here is a comprehensive guide to NASA’s plans for a blockbuster return to the moon.

NASA’s Goal

NASA typically identifies five-year goals in pursuit of its vision. The agency’s current five-year goal is to “send astronauts to explore the lunar surface and establish a sustainable presence that enables advances in exploration, science, technology, and commercial development.”

NASA is also eying a manned mission to Mars – the granddaddy of all space destinations – sometime in the 2030s. However, the moon landing serves as a key stepping stone in that mission, enabling NASA to gain the experience and data it will need to make the astronaut mission to Mars a reality.

The Technology

At the heart of NASA’s plan is the Orion spacecraft, a new class of launch vehicle powered by a quartet of RS-25 engines. The craft’s length is about 40 feet, with a diameter of about 30 feet. It will boast a total of 24 other critical systems, including solar arrays and four service propulsion systems.

The mission will also utilize a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to get the astronauts to their destination. This heavy-lift launch vehicle will be the “most powerful rocket ever built.” Its sheer power comes from its four enormous RS-25 engines, which together can generate a jaw-dropping 8.9 millions pounds of thrust.

Finally, the mission will rely on the vast data-processing capacity of Lockheed Martin’s Orion mission control software, which is slated to provide real-time insight into the crew’s activities. This sophisticated software can analyze billions of data points, resulting in quicker and informed decision- making.

Expedition Plan

NASA will send four astronauts to the moon on a two-week excursion. The crew of four will stay at the Lunar Gateway; a space station orbiting the moon. Use of the station will provide a platform for the astronauts to conduct research, experiments, and gather data for future exploration.

From there, the crew will pilot their craft to the lunar surface and spend up to four days conducting experiments and exploring the terrain.

The crew will launch from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on an SLS rocket, moving through multiple stages of the craft’s acceleration until the rocket is depleted and the craft is left hovering in space. From here, the Orion craft will move on its own through deep space until it maneuvers and docks with the Lunar Gateway, at which point they will prepare for a journey to the moon.

Benefits of the Mission

The mission will be monumental in both its physical and psychological sense; it will open the door to further space exploration and the possibilities of commercial development, while also serving as a powerful symbol of human achievement and progress.

On the mission, astronauts will conduct sophisticated and detailed research that could bear fruit in disease prevention, artificial intelligence and robotics, communications, and 3D printing. Furthermore, the iconic space suits worn by the astronauts will be equipped with more advanced and responsive fabrics for comfort and support, as well as built-in computers that will provide the astronauts with quick and easy access to mission-critical data.

The mission will also help facilitate the utilization of natural resources; the moon’s abundant reserves of minerals and helium-3 could provide valuable support to energy production and life-saving medical treatments on Earth. Finally, analysis of the terrain will help scientists better understand climate and geological patterns here on Earth.

NASA’s return to the moon is a momentous occasion, both for NASA and for humanity as a whole. It will give us an invaluable opportunity to explore the wonders of space and better understand our place in the universe. The technology the mission will employ is advanced, sophisticated, and highly specialized, and the benefits it will be able to bring to our lives, both immediately and down the line, are vast. We can only sit on the edge of our seats in anticipation of this wonderfully ambitious mission.