One of the reasons 2022 will be so much better than 2021 is because it will be the year the world starts returning to the moon. The process has been long in coming.
Former president Donald trumpDonald TrumpOne in three Americans say violence against government is sometimes justified: Poll Seven most vulnerable governors facing re-election in 2022 on Sunday show snapshot: Omicron surge continues; anniversary of the January 6 attack is approaching MORE started the Artemis project in 2017. At the start of 2021, President BidenJoe Biden Kentucky Governor declares state of emergency after powerful storm Seven most vulnerable governors to be re-elected in 2022 At least 20 states to raise minimum wage from Saturday MORE confirmed that his administration would continue the third effort to send humans back to the moon, making it bipartisan and thus ensuring its success. Thus, 2022 will be the year when machines from planet Earth begin to seriously land on the Moon, joining those that have already arrived from China.
The United States will begin its first moon landings in decades as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. CLPS is an extension of a long-standing NASA policy of establishing public / private partnerships for various space operations. The Commercial Orbital Transportation Service (COTS) program, initiated under President George W. Bush, sends cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS). Commercial crew, established under the president Barack obamaBarack Hussein Obama: Will Biden’s foreign policy failures in 2021 reverberate in 2022? Voting rights: the safety pin that unites America Eleven interesting races to watch in 2022 PLUS, sends astronauts to and from the ISS. The Human Landing Systems program, launched under Trump, promises to deliver America’s first astronauts to the lunar surface for decades. CLPS will send a variety of robotic probes to the moon.
The first mission under the CLPS program is the IM-1 which will be launched by Houston-based Intuitive Machines in early 2022. The Nova-C lander will carry instruments for NASA and commercial payloads to the surface. lunar between Mare Serenitatis and Mare Crisium on the near side. from the moon.
In the course of 2022, the Astrobotic Peregrine 1 mission is expected to land in Lacus Mortis. The Peregrine lander will carry scientific and other payloads from NASA and various international and private customers.
In December 2022, Intuitive Machines is expected to land another Nova-C at the lunar south pole. The lander will contain a drill that, with a mass spectrometer, will prospect the ice beneath the lunar surface. The mission will also provide a Micro Nova hopper lander designed to explore some of the permanently shaded craters at the moon’s south pole, where scientists believe water ice has been deposited by comets over billions of years. The lunar south pole will be where the first astronauts will walk on the moon in half a century.
In addition to the three US CLPS companies, a number of other countries are planning moon landing attempts in the New Year. These include India, Japan, United Arab Emirates, and Russia. The Indian Chandrayaan-3 will be the Indian Space Research Agency’s second moon landing attempt. The Russian Luna-25 will be the former superpower’s first lunar mission since the mid-1970s. The UAE’s Rashid rover will fly to the moon aboard a Japanese Hakuto-R lander.
In the United States, NASA plans to send the CAPSTONE technology demonstrator into lunar orbit. South Korea will launch the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, the country’s first lunar mission.
NASA intends to launch an unmanned version of the Orion spacecraft above a Heavy Space Launch System (SLS) rocket around the moon from early to mid-2022. The SLS will also carry 10 cubesats ( miniature satellites) provided by a number of private organizations.
SpaceX is planning an orbital launch in 2022 of its Starship rocket, a version of which is expected to land humans on the lunar surface no earlier than 2025, pending regulatory approval.
Of course, the date of each planned mission is subject to change. Launch dates have been and may be delayed by a variety of issues, including availability of launchers and unforeseen mechanical issues. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly hasn’t helped. The FAA has announced that its environmental review of the SpaceX Starship’s orbital launch has been delayed until late February 2022, proving the adage that government red tape can be just as difficult as making technology work.
Additionally, some of the landing attempts may fail. India and Israel both tried to land probes on the moon which, instead, failed.
Yet the law of averages suggests that some of these planned missions will be successful. So far, only China has managed to land on the moon in the 21st century, gaining scientific knowledge and the soft political power that follows.
When the rest of the world begins to arrive on the lunar surface, not only will humanity’s understanding of the moon increase, but the idea that humans will soon follow will become more real 50 years after astronauts last walked. on its surface.
Mark R. Whittington is the author of studies on space exploration “Why is it so hard to get back to the moon? As well as “The Moon, Mars and Beyond” and “Why Is America Returning to the Moon?” He blogs at Curmudgeons Corner.