If you're like me, you were born a few decades too late to see humans walk on the surface of our Moon—but that is set to change with NASA's Artemis missions.
Starting this decade, Artemis is made up of three separate missions:
- Artemis I: An uncrewed orbit around the moon
- Artemis II: A crewed orbit around the moon
- Artemis III: A crewed landing on the moon
An initial team of astronauts for Artemis has already been selected: You can view them here. NASA has committed to landing the first woman and person of colour on the moon under the Artemis program.
The destination? A place humans have never been: the Lunar South Pole.
Water ice is known to be trapped inside craters there, meaning resources to keep astronauts alive.
The moon mightn't seem all that exciting a destination, but there's plenty of awesome science to be conducted there.
As our nearest neighbour, the moon harbours clues to the origin of Earth's water, and of the early Solar System's structure. It once had a powerful magnetic field.
Plus, the moon is an important training ground for technology to get astronauts to Mars, a trip that will take much longer and prove more dangerous.
We're about to embark on the most distant journeys in our history, and the moon is the first stop.