NASA New Probe to Search for Water on Moon for Further Colonization

  • The probe will be part of Artemis 1 mission scheduled for next year.
  • It will search for ice on the South Pole of the Moon in the low orbit.
  • This is the first of such probe utilized to look for ice on the moon.

New information became available about NASA’s plans to send a miniature probe to Earth’s satellite. The launch is expected to take place in t2021 as part of the Artemis-1 mission.  The original launch was supposed to take place this year, but due to coronavirus it had to be postponed until next year.

Mission profile and timeline of the ∼8 mo Lunar Flashlight primary mission showing major events during the cruise and the 2 mo science phase. All delta-V values are notional until after SLS releases the final.

With the Artemis program, NASA plans to land the first US woman and next US man on the Moon by 2024, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before. NASA is collaborating with commercial and international partners to establish sustainable exploration by 2028.  The Artemis-1 flyby of the natural satellite will not have a crew.

One of the main purposes of the probe will be to searth for water on the Moon, to build a colony in the near future. One Russian scientist’s sensational project proposal consists of a moon base with artificial gravitation, allowing future human residents not only to live on the Moon but even give birth without harm to their health. The moon base would contain a centrifuge, which would allow an earth-like level of gravity.

Earlier this month, NASA unveiled its new Space Exploration Agenda. It also includes multiple unmanned missions. One of the missions is to build a permanent base at the South pole of Selene. NASA plans to build a mobile habitable platform. The platform will accommodate voyages lasting up to 45 days.

Lunar Flashlight spacecraft (6U, 14 kg) uses a mix of space-qualified commercial and custom-built components.

The probe will search for ice and does not require a separate launch vehicle. The new “Flashlight” will go to Selene together with Orion, which will fly around the Moon as part of the Artemis-1  non crewed mission.The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle is a class of partially reusable space capsule planned for use in NASA’s human spaceflight programs. The spacecraft consists of a Crew Module manufactured by Lockheed Martin and the European Service Module manufactured by the Airbus.

 

It is the first project of such nature to look for ice. The specifications of the probe state that it will have four infrared beams. The lasers wavelength will be absorbed by the water molecules. It will shine rays into craters and receive waves reflected by the surface. If they are weakened it would mean that there is ice.

The cubsat engine will run on new fuel that is safer than conventional, but highly toxic: hydrazine. The ecology of the moon, of course, is unlikely to suffer from toxic exhaust, but the inhabitants of the Earth need to be protected, because no one is immune from unforeseen situations in the production, storage and transportation of fuel.  The detailed information titled “Lunar Flashlight: Illuminating the Lunar South Poleis available here.

It will be an interesting decade pertaining to space exploration and it is highly likely within the next 10 years a Moon colony will become a possibility.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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