Space exploration enthusiasts received a Christmas gift from the Canadian Space Agency. And she announced, with the federal minister in charge, that a Canadian astronaut would be part of the first US mission to return to lunar orbit in 50 years.
Canada will suddenly become the second country to send an astronaut into deep space. Last week, the Biden administration confirmed a mission to the moon that could this time lead to a lunar landing by the end of 2024.
There is still a lot to do. Sometimes it seems that these new steps toward the moon are taken sideways or even backward.
NASA recently delayed selecting a contractor to land on the moon after Congress refused to fully fund President Trump’s final budget request.
NASA’s Inspector General said on Wednesday that the Artemis program, as set by the Trump administration, will cost nearly $ 86 billion by 2025. Exceptional expenditures against the backdrop of budget deficits caused by the pandemic.
NASA asked for $ 3.3 billion to fund the moon landing effort in fiscal year 2021, but Congress only granted $ 850 million in a spending bill that passed late last year and signed by Donald Trump.
However, for now, Joe Biden is supporting the program to bring the astronauts back to the moon, according to White House press secretary Jane Psaki.
“Grâce au program Artemis, le gouvernement américain travaillera avec l’industrie et des partenaires internationaux pour envoyer des astronautes à la surface de la Lune, un autre homme et une femme sur la Lune, ce qui est très excitant», a dit Mme Mme last week.
Canada in exploring the moon and mars
Despite financial hurdles and technical pitfalls, the return to the moon is accelerating. Canada signed the Artemis Accords last October, a NASA-led initiative that sets an international course of action for the next phase of Earth satellite exploration. The goal is to mine and create a space station orbiting Earth that would serve as a springboard for manned missions to Mars.
Therefore, the Canadian Space Agency is committed to seven other countries (the United States, Australia, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, and the United Arab Emirates) to explore space in a peaceful manner and in a spirit of international cooperation.
The Code of Good Conduct for the Artemis Conventions covers a variety of aspects such as protecting the Apollo 11 landing site in 1969 and limiting the production of space waste in orbit. Note that Artemis in Greek mythology is one of the deities associated with the moon, along with Hecate and Selene.
ABC of the tendons of Artemis
All cast objects must be identified and recorded.
All members agree to participate in the emergency missions.
Space systems must be universal so everyone’s equipment is compatible.
Scientific data should be shared.
Historical sites must be preserved.
The resulting space waste must be properly disposed of.
Missions of robots and other spacecraft cannot be compromised by other missions too close.
Russia and China reject Artemis agreements
Russia, which remains NASA’s largest partner in human spaceflight and International Space Station activities, was apparent in its absence. Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space program, points out that his country does not want to join this initiative, which is a “lunar invasion” centered around the United States.
China, another rising space power, for its part, even if it wanted, would not be able to join this international initiative. For several years, a law passed by the United States Congress prevented NASA from partnering or direct involvement with China in space projects. The law will have to change in order for NASA to approach China, which does not appear to be an issue in the current political climate.
Artemis agreements will define program activities
NASA’s Artemis program, launched in 2017, aims to send the first woman and “next man” to the moon by 2024 in the Antarctic region.
In the near term, NASA, with private companies, is embarking on the construction of the Lunar Gateway, a new space station it plans to send to lunar orbit from 2021. The agency wants to create a “permanent lunar structure” that would allow the back and forth repetition of people’s movements and pieces of equipment.
Remember that, a little over two years ago, the Canadian Space Agency launched a call to Canadian companies for projects and ideas that would allow them to contribute to future robotic and human space exploration missions on the moon.
Our agency is particularly interested in lunar electric systems and innovative exploration technologies.
The Artemis program plans to make widespread use of lunar resources, particularly ice, which appears to be abundant in crater floors. Not only can this ice provide vital food for astronauts, but it can also be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen, which are the two main components of rocket fuel.
International space partners are expected to request Canada, given its expertise, to provide AI-based robots to help build and operate the new orbital station around the moon.
This new International Space Station will be the first stage of the adventure to Mars, which will become a transit point for astronauts. We will first test certain equipment, especially Canadian, on lunar soil for a future manned mission on Mars. Can Canada create a new type of arm for the occasion?
RCI with SpaceFlight Now and CBC News
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