As one of the world’s leading space exploration agencies, NASA’s endeavours continue to fascinate and inspire humanity. It is now 2023, and the company has made some significant
milestones and progress in their ongoing space exploration and science programs. Let us take a deep dive into the latest developments from NASA.
Artemis Missions to the Moon: NASA’s Artemis program continues to be at the forefront of its current missions, the company’s renewed initiative to explore and inhabit parts of the moon by 2024. NASA plans to establish sustainable human space exploration of Earth’s nearest neighbour, initiating a series of missions to explore the lunar surface and test innovative technologies.
As part of this grand mission, NASA planned to launch the Artemis I mission in November 2021. The mission will become the first test flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft. However, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine recently announced that the launch would likely be pushed back until 2022 due to technical issues in the spacecraft.
NASA is currently developing the Artemis Base Camp, which will serve as the central outpost for lunar missions. The base camp will be able to sustain human life and various scientific observatories, including the Lunar Polar Volatiles Prospectors (LPVP) rover that will map water and other resources at the lunar south pole.
Moreover, NASA is gearing up for the Artemis III mission, which will take humans back to the Moon’s surface by 2024. NASA aims to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon’s South Pole, paving the way for further human exploration and scientific discoveries.
Perseverance Rover on Mars: In February 2021, NASA’s Perseverance Rover successfully landed on Mars’s Jezero Crater, making it the fifth rover to visit the Red Planet. Since landing, the rover has been working tirelessly to explore, collect samples and search for signs of ancient microbial life on the fourth planet in our solar system.
One of the latest developments related to the rover is that Perseverance has successfully drilled its first Mars rock core sample. NASA scientists believe that this core sample from Mars’s surface will help them learn more about the planet’s past and present, including issues like climate change forms.
Perseverance’s rock core samples will answer questions like whether there were ancient microbial life on Mars, how the planet’s climate has evolved over time, and whether future human missions to the planet could use Martian resources for long-term stays.
Commercial Space Exploration: NASA has been investing in companies like SpaceX, Boeing, and Blue Origin to develop innovative technologies for space exploration. With the launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon in May 2020, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program became operational, establishing a new era in human spaceflight history that could see humans traveling to and from the International Space Station (ISS) from US soil once again.
NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program is a similar initiative that has commercial companies building and operating private spacecraft to deliver scientific payloads to the lunar surface. Companies like Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines are currently working on CLPS missions to land on the Moon’s surface.
NASA is also partnering with Blue Origin, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, to develop a Human Landing System (HLS) as part of the Artemis program. This new program involves building a spacecraft that can take humans to the moon, and Blue Origin is working on designing the spacecraft’s descent element.
Conclusion: NASA’s work continues to set significant milestones, which inspires humanity to dream about space exploration further. In 2023, NASA plans to continue on this path, working towards the Artemis missions to the Moon, harnessing the potential of Perseverance and Commercial Space Exploration through collaborations with private companies, and developing innovative technologies for future space exploration. Exciting times indeed!