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NASA has chosen its first three partners for its 'Artemis' Moon return mission

By Polycount ยท 11 replies
May 31, 2019
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  1. We've known that NASA wants to bring humans back to the moon for some time now, but the organization has finally started to take concrete steps toward making that a reality lately. Indeed, NASA has just chosen its first three commercial partners for the "Artemis" Moon return program.

    These partners will deliver NASA-mandated "science and technology payloads" that will perform investigations and "demonstrate advanced technologies" on the Moon's surface. Eventually, this will pave the way for astronauts to return to the planet by 2024 -- if NASA's plans go well, that is.

    The three companies in question are Astrobiotic of Pittsburgh, Intuitive Machines of Houston, and Orbit Beyond of Edison. Astrobiotic will be receiving $79.5 million in funding from NASA, and they intend to fly "as many as 14 payloads" to Lacus Mortis by July 2021, which is a large crater on the "near side" of the Moon.

    Orbit Beyond of Edison, New Jersey, will be awarded the highest sum of the three organizations: $97 million. That money will be used to help the group fly up to four payloads to Mare Imbrium, a "lava plain" in a Moon crater. Their deadline of September 2020 is a bit tighter than the other two partners listed here.

    Intuitive Machines is being given slightly less cash; $77 million in total. They will be flying five payloads to Oceanus Procellarum, a "scientifically intriguing" (whatever that means) dark spot on the Moon's surface, by July 2021.

    Time will tell whether or not NASA and its new partners will be able to achieve their goals, but one thing is certain: after what feels like years of relative stagnation, the space industry is finally exciting again.

    Permalink to story.

  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,778   +2,591

    The schedule is ambitious to say the least, and the chance of corruption and waste is much too high. I predict a lot of disappointment and broken promises but I hope I'm wrong because I would LOVE to see humans on the moon again. Better yet, let's build a fast spaceship that can visit much of the solar system. An international crew based on pure merit; no politics; pure science and exploration without stupid preconceptions, with the whole world pooling its resources. Make it so.
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,504   +3,894

    It makes a LOT more sense to build & maintain a moon base that can support 50+ people before venturing out to Mars. We need to prove that man can indeed live and be sustained on another planet (or in this case satellite) before we venture out any further. Sustained life would require we be able to produce food, water, waste recycling, etc, etc and it will need to be the honest to goodness, real thing; not like that farce located out in Arizona desert that was such a disappointment.
    No, it won't be easy and it won't be a guarantee, but after all that is one of the key requirements to travel further out into space. If we are going to be space explorers let's at least make sure we can live up to the title and task!
  4. tkabou

    tkabou TS Booster Posts: 49   +68

    Agreed, but mankind can hardly live with itself and each other on Earth, nevermind any other cellestial body..
    xxLCxx likes this.
  5. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,610   +595

    I think it's pointless to send a 13th? Person to the moon with the robotics we have now. While it won't cost as much as a big budget Hollywood movie. I doubt it can make much of the money back.
  6. DaveBG

    DaveBG TS Maniac Posts: 420   +157

    I wonder what those that say there was never people on the moon will say when the now visitors find the things left there in the 60s...
  7. xxLCxx

    xxLCxx TS Addict Posts: 231   +153

    If we can drop things on tiny asteroids, we can surely do so on the Moon as well.
  8. Manuel Diego

    Manuel Diego TS Booster Posts: 56   +66

    Hopefully, the criterium to do this won't be making money back on the short term. Otherwise, we'll see empty cocacola cans all over the place...
  9. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,119   +2,406

    Let;'s hope vetting processes have improved as this could be a bigger giant leap.

    As to the fast ship: Getting things out into space means less gravity to overcome - meaning less fuel needs to be carried.

    And there is a great deal of mineral resources out there waiting to be harvested. In fact, there was an article a few days back where a laser would be used to melt Moon dust with a laser to form solid structures - it is essentially a 3D laser printer. I could see the same technology being used to build space ships and many other structures, too. https://www.universetoday.com/14238...-with-lasers-to-build-structures-on-the-moon/

    Also, there is a substantial amount of research being done in ion drive technology - https://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/about/fs21grc.html
    https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/ion/ and https://newatlas.com/neumann-ion-drive-nasa-hipep-engine/39490/

    These types of engines have the potential to reduce the length of time for trips to Mars from six months to just over one month. https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17476-ion-engine-could-one-day-power-39-day-trips-to-mars/

    IMO, these are exciting developments.
  10. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,412   +629

    They will probably say the things were planted or faked. :)
    DaveBG likes this.
  11. MaikuTech

    MaikuTech TS Evangelist Posts: 1,072   +187

    No we don't know much about Planet Earths Moon.
    I am for the idea of them doing payloads and research of what might be on the moon.
    A late 1969 moon landing doesn't provide much information, its been long over due for a exploration
    If they can do something like this, without fail, providing necessary data and discoveries to nasa.
    Then it would be worth while to do Mars exploration and building after all.

    "competency* is what I'm looking for from nasa and its chosen partners.
  12. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 616   +394

    "a "scientifically intriguing" (whatever that means)"

    Hilarious. From an article with "return mission" in the title, no less. Really scraping the barrel here, guys. Keep up the utter lack of work.

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