NASA is in full preparation to send astronauts back to the Moon. The US space agency is currently focusing on Artemis I rocket which is expected to be launched on August 29, 2022. The rocket has been moved to the launch pad for final preparation. Amid all these happenings, NASA has now identified Candidate Regions for landing next Americans on the Moon. It can be known that each region contains multiple potential landing sites for Artemis III, which will be the first of the Artemis missions to bring crew to the lunar surface, including the first woman to set foot on the Moon.
"As NASA prepares to send astronauts back to the Moon under Artemis, the agency has identified 13 candidate landing regions near the lunar South Pole. Each region contains multiple potential landing sites for Artemis III, which will be the first of the Artemis missions to bring crew to the lunar surface, including the first woman to set foot on the Moon," NASA said in a statement.
“Selecting these regions means we are one giant leap closer to returning humans to the Moon for the first time since Apollo,” said Mark Kirasich, deputy associate administrator for the Artemis Campaign Development Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “When we do, it will be unlike any mission that’s come before as astronauts venture into dark areas previously unexplored by humans and lay the groundwork for future long-term stays,” he added.
The following candidate regions identified by NASA for an Artemis III lunar landing are as under:
1. Faustini Rim A
2. Peak Near Shackleton
3. Connecting Ridge
4. Connecting Ridge Extension
5. de Gerlache Rim 1
6. de Gerlache Rim 2
7. de Gerlache-Kocher Massif
9. Malapert Massif
10. Leibnitz Beta Plateau
11. Nobile Rim 1
12. Nobile Rim 2
13. Amundsen Rim
According to NASA, each of these regions is located within six degrees of latitude of the lunar South Pole and, collectively, contain diverse geologic features. Together, the regions provide landing options for all potential Artemis III launch opportunities. Specific landing sites are tightly coupled to the timing of the launch window, so multiple regions ensure flexibility to launch throughout the year.
“Several of the proposed sites within the regions are located among some of the oldest parts of the Moon, and together with the permanently shadowed regions, provide the opportunity to learn about the history of the Moon through previously unstudied lunar materials,” said Sarah Noble, Artemis lunar science lead for NASA’s Planetary Science Division.
The analysis team weighed other landing criteria with specific Artemis III science objectives, including the goal to land close enough to a permanently shadowed region to allow crew to conduct a moonwalk, while limiting disturbance when landing. This will allow crew to collect samples and conduct scientific analysis in an uncompromised area, yielding important information about the depth, distribution, and composition of water ice that was confirmed at the Moon’s South Pole.
All 13 regions contain sites that provide continuous access to sunlight throughout a 6.5-day period – the planned duration of the Artemis III surface mission, NASA informed.
Through Artemis, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, paving the way for a long-term, sustainable lunar presence and serving as a steppingstone for future astronaut missions to Mars.
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