NASA’s Artemis Programme

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    • Recently, NASA’s Moon mission was named after the ancient lunar goddess Artemis.

    About the mission

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    • Moon mission 
      • Artemis I will send a rocket without a crew on a month-long journey around the Moon.
      • Artemis I mission will carry two mannequins designed to study the effects of radiation on women’s bodies so that NASA can learn how to protect female astronauts better. 
      • The spacecraft will launch on SLS, the most powerful rocket in the world.
      • It will travel 2, 80,000 miles from the earth for over four to six weeks during the course of the mission.
    • Aim:
      • To land humans on the moon by 2024 and it also plans to land the first woman and first person of colour on the moon.
      • To contribute to scientific discovery and economic benefits and inspire a new generation of explorers.
    • Spacecraft: 
      • The Orion spacecraft is going to remain in space without docking to a space station, longer than any ship for astronauts has ever done before.
    • SLS Rocket:
      • The SLS rocket has been designed for space missions beyond low-earth orbit.
      • It can carry crew or cargo to the moon and beyond. 
    • Artemis Base Camp:
      • Base camp will be established on the surface and a gateway in lunar orbit to aid exploration by robots and astronauts. 
      • It will give astronauts a place to live and work on the moon.
      • It includes a modern lunar cabin, a rover, and a mobile home.
    • Gateway: 
      • The gateway is a critical component of NASA’s sustainable lunar operations and will serve as a multi-purpose outpost orbiting the moon.
      • It is a spaceship in lunar orbit where astronauts will transfer between Orion and the lander on regular Artemis missions. 
      • Gateway will remain in orbit for more than a decade, providing a place to live and work, and supporting long-term science and human exploration on and around the Moon.
    • Space agencies involved:
      • The Canadian Space Agency has committed to providing advanced robotics for the gateway, 
      • The European Space Agency will provide the International Habitat and the ESPRIT module, which will deliver additional communications capabilities among other things. 
      • The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency plans to contribute habitation components and logistics resupply. 

    Artemis

    • The Greeks and Romans associated Artemis with the Moon.
      • Artemis was a major deity in ancient Greece, worshiped at least as early as the beginning of the first millennium B.C., or even earlier.
    • She was a daughter of Zeus, the chief god of the Olympians, who ruled the world from the summit of Mount Olympus. 
      • She was also the twin sister of Apollo, god of the Sun and oracles.
    • Artemis was a virgin goddess of the wilderness and hunting. Her independence and strength have long inspired women in a wide range of activities.
      • Artemis has also inspired environmental conservancy programs, in which the goddess is viewed as an example of a woman exercising her power by caring for the planet. 
    • However, while the Greek Artemis was strong and courageous, she wasn’t always kind and caring, even toward women.
      • With the rise of feminism, Artemis has become an icon of feminine power and self-reliance.

    Significance of the mission

    • Women’s participation
      • The programme aims to increase women’s participation in space exploration, 30% of its engineers are women.
      • Female astronauts are currently less likely to be selected for missions than men because their bodies tend to hit NASA’s maximum acceptable threshold of radiation earlier. 
    • Long history of naming its missions after mythological figures
      • Starting in the 1950s, many rockets and launch systems were named after Greek sky deities, like Atlas and Saturn, whose Greek name is Cronos.
      • Atlas and Saturn weren’t just gods, they were Titans.
    • More Knowledge
      • As more is known about the Moon compared with 50 years ago (and technologies have greatly advanced), NASA claims that this next series of missions will be able to retrieve samples more strategically than during the Apollo era.
    • Finding Resources
      • The discovery of water on the Moon and potential deposits of rare minerals hold promise for both scientific and economic exploration and exploitation.
    • Way to Mars
      • It will pave a way to mars explorations. NASA sees Artemis as laying the foundation for both international space agencies and private companies to build a lunar settlement and economy, and from there eventually send humans to Mars.
    • Lunar Economy
      • It will enable a growing lunar economy by fueling new industries, supporting job growth, and furthering the demand for a skilled workforce. 

    ISRO’s Attempt to Moon Exploration

    • Chandrayaan 1:  Chandrayaan-1 was the first lunar space probe of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
      • It began in 2007 with an agreement between India’s space agency ISRO and Russia’s ROSCOSMOS for mutual cooperation.
      • It confirmed the presence of lunar water and evidence of lunar caves formed by an ancient lunar lava flow.
    • Chandrayaan 2: It is India’s second mission to the moon and comprises a fully indigenous Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan).
    • Chandrayaan 3: The Chandrayaan-3 mission is a follow-up of Chandrayaan-2 of July 2019, which aimed to land a rover on the lunar South Pole. 

    Source: IE