Artemis is the Moon mission of NASA to return humans back to the Moon. The first man on the lunar surface was an America. He was Neil Armstrong, and he did it in 1972. Subsequently, the American space agency NASA diverted its attention to other areas, and the Moon took a back seat. That was until President Donald Trump wanted humans back on the Moon and NASA began its Artemis mission.

Other countries also want to grab a piece of the Moon, but the United States wants to prove its superiority. The tentative plans envisaged by NASA involves an Apollo-like capsule called Orion. It would launch on a powerful rocket called SLS.

However, the timeline depends on the availability of funds that Congress has to release.

The BBC quotes NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine indicating the cost would come to around $28bn. It would include various elements like funding for SLS, Orion, and the human landing system apart from spacesuits.

These are parts of the Artemis program, and the cost would be incurred over the next four years. He explained that the budget request is already before the House, and NASA would require the funds to meet the deadline.

NASA waits for the first woman astronaut to go to the Moon in 2024

Jim Bridenstine had mentioned to a section of the media about the first woman astronaut to walk on the Moon in 2024.

That was in 2019, and NASA has been busy trying to zero in on her. The requirement as defined by the NASA administrator was for someone "who has been proven, somebody who has flown, somebody who has been on the International Space Station already."

She could be a member of the existing astronaut corps.

The BBC says at that time, NASA had 12 active woman astronauts. Subsequently, others have joined after completion of training. One of them could get the nod. Jim Bridenstine says the selection of the first set of crewmembers would complete at least two years prior to the mission.

Vice President Mike Pence cautions NASA about China

The White House wants NASA to prove the superiority of America in space. Vice President Mike Pence talked about the advances made by China that already has a presence on the Moon. In January 2019, the country became the first nation to land a robot on its far side. The purpose was to explore the natural resources available there.

The BBC adds that NASA could go on for the extraction of valuable deposits of water ice from the lunar South Pole. That could generate rocket fuel on the Moon. It would be a cheaper option when compared to carrying it from Earth.

Three steps of NASA to send humans back to the Moon

According to Sky News, NASA has developed a three-step formula for the 2024 Moon mission to see the first woman step on to the lunar surface.

The program identified as Artemis will take the astronauts to the Moon. There will be three phases, namely - Artemis-1, Artemis-2, and Artemis-3. The first will involve an unmanned test flight around the Moon in autumn 2021. It would check out all critical systems like life support and communication capabilities.

The next phase in 2023 would be more intensive and repeat the tests of the first phase with crew onboard. Phase 3 will see astronauts land on the lunar south pole of the Moon in 2024. They will be there for seven days, collect samples, and carry out some experiments before returning to Earth.

The activities would involve large scale use of Renewable Energy, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

In the words of NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine – "We're going back to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers. As we build up a sustainable presence, we're also building momentum toward those first human steps on the red planet."

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