The Artemis program, created by NASA to explore the Moon, will have to undergo some changes to carry out missions also on Mars, according to a report by the Explore Mars group. The information was released by the researchers during the virtual edition of the Humans to Mars Summit, which took place between August 31 and September 3 this year.
The report was based on a workshop attended by representatives from NASA and other institutions and discussed viable ways to explore the Red Planet. During the event, participants surveyed 85 activities and functions related to human exploration on Mars. For researchers, much of the list could benefit from both the Artemis program and research on the International Space Station (ISS).
Trip from the Moon to Mars
The results of the workshop indicated that, for this to happen, Artemis will have to undergo some changes. According to current NASA plans, starting in 2024 the Red Planet exploration team will receive training at the Gateway station, which is in the orbit of the Moon.
Chief technologist for civil and commercial space at Lockheed Martin, Lisa May, disagrees with this system. According to her, “having humans on the lunar surface working, exploring, doing science and building a sustainable presence is not appropriate”.
Changes to the Artemis program
NASA currently plans to use the Gateway station for short stays. The technologist, however, believes that the training should be as close to reality as possible, allowing the crew to spend more time at the station than at the surface.
The report also suggested that, in order to map possible frozen water deposits that exist on both the Red Planet and the Moon, preliminary accessibility missions to these reserves should be carried out. “Understanding how much we can actually extract and use will define the architecture of what we are going to create to go to Mars and the Moon,” said Clive Neal, a professor at the University of Notre Dame.