Artemis Missions


After almost 50 years of not visiting the moon, we are finally coming back. NASA’s Artemis program is the latest program intended to get us to the moon. With 4 missions currently in progress, it aims to get humans to the moon no later than 2025. The Artemis Missions will also focus on establishing a permanent base on the moon, and facilitate more moon missions and future missions to Mars.

Artemis 1 has been delayed 3 times due to some technical problems, and most recently a hurricane, and its new launch date is sometime soon. Artemis 1 will send an unmanned rocket to and around the moon, not landing but orbiting it, then returning to Earth. Artemis 2 will be launched May 2024, and will be a manned mission which, similarly to Artemis 1, is not set to touch down on the moon, instead circling around it then returning to Earth. Artemis 3, set to launch sometime 2025, will be a manned mission. It will bring humans to the moon for the first time since December 19th, 1972. Artemis 4 will also be a manned mission, which plans to set up the Gateway Space Station, an orbiting space station which will provide essential support to future Artemis missions. All of these missions will use the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The SLS is 321 feet tall (16 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty) and weighs 5.5 million pounds (70 metric tons). The SLS is the largest and most powerful rocket ever built.

The Artemis Program, though relatively recent, has its roots in projects dating back decades. The Artemis program was first founded in 2017, but uses much of the research and parts from its predecessor, the Constellation program (2005-2010), which was canceled due to budgetary issues. The reasons for Artemis’ founding seem obvious: establish a permanent base on the moon and bring humanity another step closer to being an interplanetary species. But this is just one of many reasons for its founding: many regard Artemis as somewhat of a political statement. With China and Russia (our two biggest enemies) upping their presence in space, the US was forced to do the same, and what better way than to establish a permanent base on the moon.