Here are the candidate sites for landing astronauts on the Moon and their bases

Astronautes de la Nasa travaillant à la surface de la Lune pour le programme Artemis III. © Nasa

A few days ago, the NASA Several potential lunar landing sites have been selected for the Artemis III mission, the first of a program to bring America back to the moon. NASA plans to have a crew of two astronauts, including one woman and one person of color, by 2025. Thirteen sites have been identified covering an area of ​​approximately 15 square kilometers, with one or more potential landing sites within a radius of 100 meters or less. These locations were not chosen at random. They provide excellent “technological” conditions for landing, living and working and are scientifically curious.

On the contrary Apollo mission landing siteslocatedequator On the side visible from Earth, all of these future Artemis mission sites are located at the lunar south pole. The choice of dozens of potential sites rather than just a few is explained by NASA’s desire to provide a certain flexibility and flexibility throughout the year.

The exam was held on that day database Study Lunar Reconnaissance OrbiterIncluding Altimetric and Topographic Maps This made it possible to detect peaks the light eternal, Floors Pits permanently in the shade the sun and the most suitable terrain for landing. All of them have lighting conditions for a continuous period of at least 6.5 days, ie Duration Artemis III was planned for the mission. These sunlight conditions are essential because they provide a source ofEnergy and reduce temperature variations.

Landing sites that meet technical and scientific criteria

Choosing a landing site is always a headache for the scientific team of every mission, the place must be suitable not only for the researchers but above all for the engineers and pilots of the lunar lander that is going to land. Contrary to popular belief, it is not always possible to land where scientific interest is greatest, as many parameters need to be taken into account. Often, they are tied to integrated skills Space Launch System (SLS), from the spacecraft Orion And Starship Human Landing System will define SpaceX’s mission profile and landing trajectory Starship.

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Additionally, the Artemis III landing surface must meet certain conditions, such as being as flat as possible, lightly littered with large rocks, and high enough to facilitate contact with Earth.

They are all located in the immediate vicinity of craters or craters permanently in the shadow of the sun

These landing sites were also selected based on scientific recommendations. Unsurprisingly, they are all located in the immediate vicinity of craters or craters permanently in the shadow of the sun, whose bottoms and floors may contain water ice. ” Many of the sites offered in these regions are located in some of the oldest regions of the Moon, and together with the permanently shadowed regions, offer the opportunity to learn more about the history of the Moon through unexplored raw materials. said Sarah Noble, chief scientist of the Artemis mission for NASA’s Planetary Science Division.

A data visualization showing the locations of 13 sites in this video highlights the topography and exploration potential of these areas. © NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Finally, the team of engineers and scientists responsible for selecting these sites also took into account Scientific objectives Specific to Artemis III, landing very close to an area specifically in the sun’s shadow would allow the crew to reach it easily, while limiting its degradation or its pollution, resulting in a maneuverable landing. This should allow crews to collect samples and conduct scientific studies without damaging an area StarshipFor example, water ice confirmed at the Moon’s south pole will provide important information such as depth, distribution and composition.

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