The first mission of NASA’s Artemis program finally took the Orion spacecraft on a journey around the Moon. This is a big step forward for his ambitious plans to put humans on the moon as early as 2025. It is also the beginning of a far-reaching plan for the White House. Ambitions for a permanent outpost on the moon.
The White House’s National Science and Technology Council last week released a new “National Cisluna Science and Technology Strategy.” It is an extensive document outlining the Biden administration’s goals for the Earth and Sith Luna space, a region under the influence of Earth’s gravity. Moon. This strategy outlines his four main goals that, broadly speaking, seem to make a lot of sense. These include investing in research and development, cooperating with other nations, building communications networks in space, and improving situational awareness across humanity near and on the moon.
But what the plan implies is a range of unresolved legal, political and environmental questions about how life on the Moon should work.
“Ongoing test missions like Artemis 1, the next manned mission, and the first landing are planned pretty well,” said Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. Scott Pace told Recode. “The question is, ‘Well, what comes next?'”
Part of the answer to that question is “advances in science”. For example, the United States is interested in using the far side of the Moon, a shield zone on the Moon where radio waves from Earth do not reach, for new types of astronomical observations. Developing resources and technology on the moon could ultimately make it easier to launch future missions to Mars.
But the government’s interest in the moon goes far beyond expanding mankind’s knowledge of the universe. The White House’s new strategy emphasizes “economic development activities” and “economic growth” available in lunar outer space and on the moon, and also outlines the government’s political goals, including “realizing U.S. leadership.” .
“It’s clearly not just a question of research and science, it’s also about the economic outlook from the moon,” explains Namrata Goswami, an independent space policy analyst. “So far, the United States has been very reluctant to explicitly engage in the manufacturing and exploitation of lunar resources.”
Pace argues that the moon could end up looking very different if the U.S. hits its target.The orbit of the moon can be traced to his GPS network on the moon and A human space station that serves as a resting place for human astronauts before landing on the moon. There are no plans for a lunar city, but there is a proposal to build a permanent outpost at the south pole of the moon, where the crew could do his six-month rotation (China and Russia also have lunar outposts plan). Eventually, NASA’s will, the lunar surface could include a series of nuclear power plants, resource extraction operations, and even something akin to the lunar Internet. Given these plans, the U.S. government estimates that levels of human activity in monthly space over the next decade could exceed everything that has happened since 1957 to the present combined.
But the White House plan faces some hurdles. Political tension alone can be a major source of conflict, according to Michelle Hanlon, co-director of the Center for Aerospace Law at the University of Mississippi Law School.
For one thing, there is still no globally shared vision of what the future of the Moon should entail. The US-led Artemis Accords have more than 20 signatories to him. It is, among other things, a set of principles concerning the exploration and use of the lunar surface. The former head of Russia’s space agency understandably said the country would not support the Artemis program in its current form, and Congress has banned NASA from working with China since 2011. . It’s quite large in itself, just under 15 million square miles. Multiple nations may end up competing for the same resource, such as a particular landing site or a particular pile of materials.
These tensions could also affect efforts to create a shared understanding of what is happening in lunar and solar space, one of the government’s main goals. The White House says it wants to expand access to data on space weather and satellite tracking and create a catalog of all objects on the Moon to solve the emerging problem of satellite traffic management. It is not clear how this will happen.
“I think the US is far from achieving this,” said Moriba Jah, co-founder and chief scientist at Privateer Space, in an email. “Today, when it comes to the U.S. space object catalog, it is mostly developed and maintained independently by the U.S. Army/DoD, and for obvious reasons is not a completely transparent organization.”
At the same time, there is the more pressing issue that mankind has started exporting to the moon. It’s junk. The moon is already littered with astronauts’ leftovers, including golf balls and nearly 100 bags of poop. Humans have also figured out how to destroy the moon without actually visiting it. In 2009, NASA deliberately crashed a robotic spacecraft into the moon’s surface to investigate potential water sources on the surface. This March, his space junk, believed to be from a Chinese rocket mission in 2014, crashed on the moon. Space environmentalists worry that some of the same environmental damage that humans have created on Earth could be a problem on the Moon and its orbit.
Ideally, an emerging space economy would focus on preventing space pollution and avoiding disposable machines such as satellites, rovers, and rockets as much as possible.
Jah, who is also a professor of aerospace engineering at UT Austin, explains: “If we cannot dispose of it, how can we properly dispose of it so as not to cause harmful environmental impacts instead of disposing of it?”
Of course, the strategy recently announced by the White House is only the first draft of what the government’s plans for the moon will ultimately look like, and there’s no guarantee that the US vision will come to fruition. It is becoming increasingly clear that the space age of the world will come with great challenges. As humans venture deeper into space and onto the moon, they bring with them the same problems they have yet to grapple with on Earth, such as conflicts between nations, environmental destruction, and even the challenge of preserving history. You are taking risks.
“Because of all these activities on the moon, it would be tragic that Neil Armstrong’s blueprints would be erased either inadvertently or maliciously,” said Hanlon. “It will be crowded soon.”