NASA Moon landing: Space agency vows to land on the dark side of the Moon by 2020 – Express.co.uk

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NASA’s Artemis will succeed the historic Apollo programme the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing looms. The ambitious space programme comes off the back of NASA’s reinvigorated drive to send humans to the Moon by 2024. NASA Artemis will see the space agency first deliver instruments and tools to the Moon before astronauts can go. The first Moon-bound launches are expected to go ahead in 2020 and 2021.NASA said: “NASA is targeting 2020 for the launch of its powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft together for the first time from a modernised Kennedy Space Center in Florida.“This unscrewed flight test, known as Artemis 1, will demonstrate our capability to send crew spaceship to lunar orbit ahead of a return to the surface of the Moon.“After launch, SLS will also deploy a number of CubeSats to perform experiments and technology demonstrations.”NASA’s Artemis will focus on the Moon’s south pole – a so far unexplored region of the Moon facing away from the Earth.READ MORE: Read President John F Kennedy’s historic address as Apollo 11 anniversary loomsNASA Moon landing: The space agency will return to the Moon starting in 2020 (Image: NASA/GETTY)On Earth, we always see the same side of the Moon because the lunar orb rotates on its axis at the same rate the Moon orbits the Earth.As a result, the side of the Moon we do not see is often referred to as the “dark side of the Moon”.This particular region is of incredible importance to scientists because astronomers believe it could be rich in ice.The sustainability of future, permanent missions to the Moon will rely on NASA’s ability to tap into potential resources like frozen water.READ MORE: What did Apollo 11 discover during lost two minutes of SILENCE?Explaining why NASA dubbed the mission Artemis, the space agency said: “She was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology.“Now, she personifies our path to the Moon as the name of NASA’s program to return astronauts to the lunar surface by 2024, including the first woman and the next man.“When they land, our American astronauts will step foot where no human has ever been before: The Moon’s South Pole.”NASA announced its goal of sending astronauts to the Moon’s south pole in April this year.READ MORE: Filmmaker ‘proves’ Stanley Kubrick faked Apollo 11 landingNASA Moon landing: Artemis will rely on the Space Launch System (SLS) to leave Earth (Image: NASA)NASA Moon landing: NASA’s mission will target the Moon’s south pole (Image: NASA)Steven Clarke, deputy associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA, said: “We know the south pole region contains ice and may be rich in other resources based on our observations from orbit, but, otherwise, it’s a completely unexplored world.“The South Pole is far from the Apollo landing sites clustered around the equator, so it will offer us a new challenge and a new environment to explore as we build our capabilities to travel farther into space.”And Noah Petto, a NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter scientist, said every “square meter” of the Moon has been mapped from orbit so far.But it will take manned missions on the surface to lead future exploration and discoveries.
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