It has been 50 years since man first walked on the moon. It is anticipated that by the year 2019, NASA will make its very first push to go back to the moon and build its lunar space station. Not only this station will help humans return to the moon, but this mission will also act like the rest stop of the mission to Mars.
William Gerstenmaier, the associate administrator for human exploration and operations for NASA, talked about the plans of the first lunar outpost at the Space Symposium held in Colorado Springs. NASA plans to start building its lunar space station by next year. The space agency is also planning to launch its Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway that will orbit the moon in 2025. The Gateway will perform multiple purposes the moment it becomes fully functional. The device will help in gathering data and putting another human back to the lunar surface. It will also help determine if the water on the lunar surface can be used as a propellant.
The mission to Mars could also be possible with the help of the lunar station as the pit stop away from the red planet. William Gerstenmaier also said that the platform would also allow for a deep understanding of the orbital mechanics since it is an environment with a zero gravity.
The first unscrewed flight to the moon will happen next year, and the launch of the system to the moon will happen next year. The crew will make their way to the platform in 2023, and a four-person team will handle the duties on the platform within 30 to 60-day missions.
The associate administrator for human explorations and operations for NASA also said that the budget of the said mission together with the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway is a part of the agency’s budget and it does not require any huge funding. However, the agency is still not yet certain if this budget may be affected by the newly confirmed NASA administrator, Senator Jim Bridenstine.
NASA’s plan of bringing a human back to the moon is expected to happen with the years that will come. The next missions of NASA will use a deep-space exploration system that will prepare the astronauts, the ships and the entire team for the upcoming human operations in space. Although the test already works during the Obama administration, it was framed to be the stepping-stone to bring astronauts to Mars.