Lunar Base by 2028? NASA Says So
NASA has been directed by the current administration to commit to sending American astronauts to the moon by 2028. If carried out successfully, this will mark the first time the United States has had its astronauts walk on the moon since 1972.
“It is the stated policy of this administration and the United States of America to return American astronauts to the moon, within the next five years,” Pence said in a speech delivered in Huntsville, Alabama. “Let me be clear, the first woman and the next man on the moon will both be American astronauts launched by American rockets from American soil.”
Leaked internal NASA plans detail the organization’s plans for 37 rocket launches in the coming years, including a manned mission taking place in 2024, and the establishment of a permanent lunar base by 2028. The plan also includes the assembly of NASA’s long-planned Lunar Gateway, an outpost that will orbit the moon, and serve as a spaceport for all future missions to the surface.
15 of these 37 missions will take place before the scheduled manned flight, all of which are necessary to transport the essential supplies needed to begin construction of this base. The 16th mission, titled Artemis 3, will carry the first astronauts to the moon in decades.
NASA is currently partnering with the private sector to develop the landers that will be used to safely harbor the astronauts to the surface of the moon. Later, they will serve as important transport vessels for future construction projects pertaining to the proposed lunar base.
The construction of a lunar base is said to be a crucial first step in expanding humanity’s colonization of the solar system. A manned base on the moon could pave the way for space tourism, mining expeditions, refueling stations, and scientific research. It would also provide valuable insight into the many mysteries of the moon, including how it formed. Some evidence points to deposits of water ice found in the deep, dark craters of the moon. If enough, it could serve as an incredibly valuable resource in space for any future expeditions.
Research would also help us develop expertise in engineering and operating life-support systems, cultivating food, recycling water, and better understanding the effects of living in space. All of these aspects are absolutely crucial for us to master if we are to become an interplanetary species.
While the idea of establishing a colony on Mars often receives the majority of attention in the media, a lunar base is much more realistic and gives a far better chance of mastering the difficulties of space. The moon is practically in our backyard, in cosmic terms, and a permanent base could serve as a pivotal step towards exploring the great last frontier.