Astronauts are going back to the Moon for the first time since the end of NASA’s Apollo program in 1972. Under the Artemis program, NASA will send the first woman and next man to the Moon in this decade. NASA is releasing new details about the planned Artemis III mission today in a report outlining science priorities.
In the Artemis III Science Definition Team Report found here, NASA introduces the report executive summary by highlighting the dramatic difference in technology and capabilities now compared to the last Moon landing:
The Artemis III mission will be the first human mission to the surface of the Moon in the 21st Century, and will build on the legacy of Apollo to usher in the modern era of human exploration and development in deep space. The lunar surface is an ideal location to answer fundamental planetary science questions. In the 50 years since humans last visited the Moon, new advances arising from robotic lunar missions, reanalysis of older data, modeling, and sample analysis have produced dramatic results and new questions about planetary volcanism, volatiles, impact processes, tectonics, and the lunar environment. Driven by new questions, we set out a robust science plan for the Artemis III crew return to the lunar surface.
The report also lays out seven science objectives:
- Understanding planetary processes
- Understanding the character and origin of lunar polar volatiles
- Interpreting the impact history of the Earth-Moon system
- Revealing the record of the ancient sun and our astronomical environment
- Observing the universe and the local space environment from a unique location
- Conducting experimental science in the lunar environment
- Investigating and mitigating exploration risks
The full report spans 188 pages, and NASA is holding a media call with reporters at 1 p.m. ET today to discuss the details:
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