What is the Next US Space Mission 2024?
In 2024, the US space agency will send another Next US Space Mission 2024 around the Moon called Artemis II with four astronauts aboard it – this time without landing!
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People familiar with NASA’s astronaut selection process say Wiseman is an ideal candidate to serve on this mission, having already completed two trips to the International Space Station and conducting an unforgettable spacewalk.
Artemis II Next US Space Mission 2024
NASA will conduct its next space mission in 2024 with Artemis II: an uncrewed launch to orbit the moon. The aim is to establish momentum for future human missions to land humans on its surface or beyond; however, this endeavor will likely prove costly and take considerable time and resources from both NASA and commercial partners alike. They will use an experimental lunar landing vehicle called Lunar Gateway along with vehicles for cargo and personnel transportation to make this happen.
At Artemis II’s launch will be Commander Reid Wiseman, Pilot Victor Glover, Mission Specialist 1 Christina Koch and Mission Specialist 2 Jeremy Hansen; these four are all experienced astronauts, having flown before. In addition, rookie Canadian astronaut Luca Parmitano will make his inaugural mission with this crew at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; for this launch both Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket will have crewed launches simultaneously for the first time ever!
As soon as their mission starts, astronauts will inspect all critical systems onboard the spacecraft before performing what’s known as a “translunar injection” burn to enter an orbit around the Moon and move closer than ever to its far side; from here they’ll explore further into deep space than any human has before them.
Before their mission begins, Artemis II crewmembers will undergo extensive preparation. NASA will also host a “mission integration review”, where all goals and plans for Artemis II are reviewed at once.
Artemis II crew will receive training on how to operate critical systems of their spacecraft, including life support and navigation, in case something arises during its voyage to the Moon that requires emergency return back home.
Artemis II astronauts have been selected through a rigorous selection process. As with all astronauts, Artemis II astronauts represent both veteran and rookie astronauts with expertise spanning doctors, engineers, biologists and astrophysicists among them. Three crewmembers – Wiseman, Glover and Koch have served as flight engineers on previous ISS missions; Hansen joined NASA’s astronaut corps in 2009 after working at Mission Control Centre for several years; additionally, he has held fighter pilot certification with Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot training as well as astronaut training for both NASA and CSA astronaut training programs.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LOR), scheduled to launch in 2023, will search the Moon’s south pole for water ice using a golf-cart-sized rover equipped with one meter drill and three spectrometers among other instruments. LOR will serve as part of NASA’s expanded human presence around and near the Moon by collecting information that helps establish an extended human presence on and around its surface.
The LOR rover will also perform other tasks on the moon surface, such as searching for signs of life and finding suitable drill sites to extract water ice deposits from lunar soil samples, as well as surveying for any contaminants on its surface. Furthermore, this mission could uncover what lies beneath lunar regolith layers to shed light on how its creation occurred.
LOR will also serve as a test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the rocket which will carry astronauts on their next lunar mission. At 15 times larger than Saturn V that carried humans to the Moon in 1969, SLS is NASA’s biggest rocket and needs to be tested before its official debut; unfortunately NASA’s ambitious schedule leaves little room for delays.
NASA has selected experienced astronauts for its crew. Both Glover and Koch, veterans of spaceflight, have already logged six spacewalks between them. Joining them will be Canadian fighter pilot Jeremy Hansen who recently participated in NEEMO 19, an ocean floor simulation to simulate deep space exploration.
Four astronauts will use an SLS to launch into space and rendezvous with a lunar Gateway space station orbiting around the moon, before embarking on lunar descent craft to land on the lunar surface, conduct science, and return back to Gateway before beginning their return home journey. NASA originally set this timeline under President Trump, however this timeline has since been revised due to delays caused by COVID-19 pandemic and Blue Origin’s lawsuit filing against them.
ExoMars is an interplanetary mission comprised of several spacecraft, including an orbiter and rover, designed to study whether Mars has ever supported life and test technologies for possible sample return missions in the future. ExoMars also seeks to understand why methane gases have been detected across its surface – these methane emissions could either originate geologically or biologically.
Trace Gas Orbiter will be launched in 2024 to scan Mars’ atmosphere for signs of methane and aid scientists in targeting their Rosalind Franklin rover – this spacecraft’s purpose being to search for chemical evidence of past or present life on its planet.
As part of its mission, the rover will send back panoramic images from its surface exploration as well as use instruments on its lander to detect methane or other trace chemicals such as methane or other trace chemicals that could contain methane. Furthermore, it will explore subsurface areas to depths of two meters where evidence of water may exist.
However, the project is facing substantial hurdles with only one launch opportunity left before the year-end deadline. European Space Agency (ESA) officials are currently considering the cost associated with creating a new launch system and storing the rover under optimal conditions so as to limit potential contamination by Earth-based microbes.
Even amid these delays, scientists involved with the project remain optimistic. Francesca Esposito of INAF Astronomical Observatory Capodimonte in Italy notes: “Space missions can sometimes go astray.” It’s essential for scientists to get the rover running and begin its work as soon as possible.
A 2018 follow-up mission will see a rover land on Mars using lessons learned from 2016 when an EDM launched with one. The EDM was intended to test landing systems for Rosalind Franklin lander that will ultimately deliver Rover to Mars surface. Thales Alenia Space Italia in Turin is currently developing the lander, with nine instrument payloads provided by seven research institutions across seven countries. It will be launched using Russia’s Proton-M rocket, while many components — including radioisotope heaters for its rover — will be provided by Roscosmos.
The Euclid spacecraft has successfully launched on its mission to study the geometry of our universe. Named for Greek mathematician Euclid of Alexandria, its researchers will assist scientists in understanding dark energy – thought to be behind expansion of spacetime itself.
Euclid will spend its six-year mission at the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point (L2), located approximately 930,000 miles (1,500,000 kilometers) away from Earth. By taking advantage of Earth and Sun gravity pull to balance inertial forces, Euclid should remain in an orbit that allows minimal use of propellant. Furthermore, L2 offers excellent communication links back home as well as solar power access; an ideal setting for high bandwidth data downlinks.
Euclid will gather information on over 12 billion galaxies during its mission, studying their shapes, colors, distances and distribution. With its two instruments–a visible-light camera and near-infrared imaging spectrometer and photometer (NISP)–it will create three-dimensional maps depicting galaxies’ distributions as well as detect distortions caused by dark energy.
Euclid could in the future assist in pinpointing supermassive black holes and other objects, while also studying weak lensing – when massive objects distort light from smaller ones around it due to gravity distorting it.
NASA hopes that Euclid and Orion, their multipurpose spacecraft that will take them there, can enable astronauts to one day land on the Moon. However, many obstacles must first be cleared away before this can take place: for starters, NASA still needs to launch the SLS rocket that would transport Orion from Euclid to Gateway before 2024; building and testing of Gateway must also be completed and tested; in addition there’s currently no lunar lander available to take astronauts directly onto lunar surface from Gateway.
NASA is counting on Euclid as a way of giving Orion and SLS the boost they need to send crews of four astronauts to the Moon by November 2024. These astronauts include veteran US astronauts Sunita Williams and Nicole Mann as well as Canadian first-time spaceflier Jeremy Hansen who previously piloted F-18 fighter jets in Royal Canadian Air Force, participated in NEEMO 19 and other space simulation exercises before making his journey into space.