As NASA is preparing for its Artemis crewed missions, the space agency will have to build sustaining moon base on the lunar surface to sustain the astronauts from harsh moon environments. The agency is targeting launching the first crew in 2025 to commence with its long-term goal of building sustainable habitats on the moon.
While most people are assuming that NASA will only build one base for its Artemis lunar mission, the American Space Agency may include plans to build more lunar bases than anyone could predict. During a press brief on Monday, April 17, NASA’s associate administrator for exploration systems development, Jim Free, revealed how the agency will meet its goals for Artemis crewed missions.
He said that NASA may possibly build more bases around the moon instead of building only one Artemis Base Camp at the lunar south pole as revealed in 2020. This statement implies that NASA may be adjusting some of its plans of building colonies on the moon even before the first crew lifts off from Earth.
“It’s really hard to say we’re going to have a single base camp,” Free said to reporters during a briefing at the 38th Space Symposium. “Because if we miss a launch window, we might have to wait a month to go back to that place.”
NASA may partner with its international partners in building several moon bases across the lunar survive to expand scientific exploration on the moon. Free also revealed that NASA is currently studying the possibilities of building multiple moon bases with some contributions from international partners including JAXA, CSA, and the ESA. The American space agency has already signed an agreement with these partners on its Artemis space programs.
Why NASA Needs More than one Moon Base on the Lunar Surface
When it comes to exploring the lunar surface to obtain scientific data, space agencies will have to consider the safety and well-being of their astronauts. NASA has already accomplished its first Artemis space mission and already preparing for Artemis 2 mission which will carry astronauts around the moon.
But during its Artemis 3, the space agency is hoping to land the first crew on the moon. But the agency needs must have successfully built its moon base to give astronauts a safe place to stay while they explore the lunar surface. However, during future Artemis missions, more astronauts will be sent to the moon to expand human exploration on the lunar surface.
“So, we can maybe have two or three sites to go to that help our science diversity, because the reason we’re doing Artemis in the first place is for science,” Free said.
Based on Free’s statement, one could understand why future moonwalkers will need more than one moon base on the lunar surface.
Where NASA Will Build Its Moon Base
If NASA must build a base on the moon, the American Space Agency must rely on previous data to conclude the exact location to build its first lunar habitat. Based on the data obtained from previous missions to the moon, NASA concluded that building a moon base on the lunar south pole will be the best choice for future moonwalkers. Since the south pole has abundant water sources, humans can easily extract enough moisture to supply the base with water and oxygen.
NASA is hoping to build its Artemis Base Camp at the lunar south pole in a region known as Shackleton Crater. This is because this region has been on NASA’s list of options for the development of a lunar base since it harbors water ice in its hidden areas. The engineers working on the Base Camp plan will design it to include radiation shielding, a landing pad for visiting crew, power stations, and other fascinating technologies.
The habitat will also have to accommodate a lunar rover that the crew members can use to navigate across the lunar surface. NASA is also working on “a habitable mobility platform” that the astronauts could use in visiting other distant locations on the moon. This habitable mobility platform will last up to 45 days at a goal.
Despite the awesome technologies that will be used on the lunar surface, NASA will still have to build multiple bases to accommodate its future mission goals on the lunar surface. Free said that NASA will not be building these additional moon bases anytime soon because of cost and other limitations.
“Artemis 3 is getting the crew down, let them stay for six and a half days and get them back,” Free said. “And we’re slowly going to build the time that we will have the crew spend, and then the number of crew, on the surface.”
Building more than one lunar base on the moon will help increase our exploration goals and push NASA towards reaching greater milestones in colonizing the moon. Even though NASA is still years away from building multiple bases on the moon, the agency is optimistic about the future of humans living permanently on the lunar surface. What do you think about seeing multiple habitats on the moon?