NASA has not yet launched the rocket that will carry astronauts to the moon, nor has he selected the crew that will explore the satellite as part of the Artemis program. However, it has already identified a location where astronauts could land on the moon.
The space agency announced Friday that it has selected 13 possible regions on the moon’s south pole that contain ice in permanently shadowed craters and are far from the area explored by Neil Armstrong and the other Apollo astronauts.
The first manned mission to the Moon took place about 50 years ago, and the next one is planned for 2025.
This would be the first manned “trip” to the moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972.
Although there have been some setbacks and delays, the program is the first human space exploration program since Apollo to survive multiple governments. Unlike Apollo, Artemis is designed to have a permanent presence on and around the Moon.
How the folks at NASA chose the possible locations for the landing
In a briefing Friday, officials from NASA said they selected landing sites based on data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a robotic spacecraft that has been mapping the lunar surface since 2009.
“The selection of these regions means we are one step closer to returning humans to the moon for the first time since Apollo,” Mark Kirasich, NASA deputy assistant administrator for the Artemis Campaign Development Division, said in a statement.
“When we do this, it will be unlike any previous mission in that the astronauts will be venturing into dark areas previously unexplored by humans and laying the groundwork for future long-term sojourns,” he added.
The selected sites, all within a group of six latitudes at the South Pole, were chosen because they are safe and close enough to regions of permanent shadow to allow the crew to walk in six and a half days.
This, according to NASA, would allow the astronauts to “collect samples and perform scientific analyzes in a new area that will provide important information about the depth, distribution and composition of the ice.