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Why fly to the moon?

6 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

Artemis 2, which NASA aims to launch in November 2024, will send a crew of four on a test flight that will take them once around the moon and back. But the agency has already placed numerous astronauts on the moon during the Apollo program, so why won't Artemis 2 orbit the moon or land on the lunar surface?

The answer is that NASA is testing a wide range of new technologies, systems and procedures during Artemis 2, just as it did with Artemis 1, an uncrewed flight to lunar orbit that launched last November. Many of these have never been tested in an actual spaceflight environment, and the agency will need to collect data to inform its future moon to Mars plans envisioned under the Artemis program. So the agency deemed a lunar fly-around the best and safest option for the first Artemis crewed flight. Related: NASA reveals Artemis 2 astronauts for 1st crewed moon flight since Apollo Mission updates: Artemis 2 to the moon

Broadly, Artemis 2 will be similar to Artemis 1 in that it will be another shakedown cruise for the Space Launch System rocket (SLS) and Orion spacecraft. This time around, however, with a crew onboard, the Artemis 2 flight will help test Orion's human-centric systems such as life support, communications and flight controls.

"The unique Artemis 2 mission profile will build upon the uncrewed Artemis 1 flight test by demonstrating a broad range of SLS and Orion capabilities needed on deep space missions," said NASA's Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager, in an agency statement (opens in new tab)."This mission will prove Orion's critical life support systems are ready to sustain our astronauts on longer duration missions ahead and allow the crew to practice operations essential to the success of Artemis 3."

Radiation levels of the deep space environment around the moon are much more intense than those found in low Earth orbit where the International Space Station resides. NASA will therefore need to gather data on Orion's ability to keep astronauts safe and healthy throughout the mission.

In addition to checking out the crew life support systems, Artemis 2 will be used to test how well Orion can maneuver in space under human control. Once Orion has reached high Earth orbit nearly 24 hours after launch, it will separate from its Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS), essentially SLS's second stage.

Once Orion has separated from the ICPS, the crew will use the spacecraft's onboard controls and cameras to line themselves up with the discarded second stage booster in order to test the capsule's handling qualities and related systems.

After this procedure, Orion will use its Airbus-built European Service Module (ESM) to execute what is called a translunar injection (TLI) burn, a propulsive maneuver that will place it on a path toward the moon. Orion and its crew will then swing some 6,400 miles (10,300 kilometers) around the far side of the moon before embarking on a four-day return trip to Earth.

While Artemis 1 saw Orion fly to lunar orbit and back, it did so without a human crew. Artemis 2 will not land any humans on the moon because so many of the hardware and software systems, maneuvers and procedures involved with NASA's planned future moon missions have not been tested before — by a human crew or while under remote control.

In addition, many of the hardware elements that will be required to land humans on the surface of the moon are not yet completed. SpaceX's Starship reusable rocket, which NASA has selected to be the Artemis program's first crewed lunar lander, has yet to make an orbital test flight around Earth. NASA and its associated contractors are likewise still developing the moonsuits, next-generation lunar rovers and other pieces of hardware that will be required to operate on the lunar surface.

One of the key components of future Artemis missions will be Gateway, a moon-orbiting space station that will be used as a hub for astronauts going to or returning from the lunar surface. In NASA's current Artemis program plans, Orion will transport astronauts to Gateway, at which point they will transfer to a SpaceX Starship for the journey to the lunar surface and back.

NASA and its international partners plan to begin construction of Gateway in lunar orbit in the next couple of years; the first section, the American-made Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) module, could launch as early as 2024.

Without these key hardware components — Starship and Gateway — Artemis 2 currently does not have a way of getting to the lunar surface and back.

Still, even without touching down on the lunar surface or orbiting the moon, the mission will generate the data needed for NASA and its international partners to put human boots back on the moon just a year or so later, if all goes to plan.

NASA aims to launch Artemis 3, which will land astronauts near the lunar south pole, in 2025, though that target date is preliminary.

crzzooz Mehar
Answer # 2 #

Now, half a century later, today's rockets struggle to accomplish the same task.

The success of the Apollo Moon Program lay largely in a massive brute force effort, where the government funded roughly 400,000 people from across the entire U.S. to ensure the Americans beat the Russians to the moon. Considering they were building an enormous system that was entirely new from the ground up, on a ridiculously short timescale, it is amazing the rockets performed as well as they did.

True, there were two accidents — a fire on the launch pad of Apollo 1 that took the lives of three astronauts; and an exploding oxygen tank on Apollo 13 that crippled the mission, but those astronauts were able to return safely to the Earth thanks to even more teamwork.

All the numbers around the Saturn V rocket are astounding:

In all, NASA flew 13 Saturn V rockets, and all of them did their job of delivering 24 humans to the moon — with 12 of those humans walking on the surface — as well as lifting the first American space station, Skylab into Orbit.

Because of the tight timetable, the first flight, known as Apollo 4, was an "all up" test, where the entire rocket was flown with everything in place. This is risky, because the assorted parts of the rocket were built in different parts of the country and had never operated together as a single unit. Remarkably, the first flight was a total success.

The space race of the 1960s was a time when taking chances was the norm — chances that would never be taken today. Even though the second test flight of the rocket did have problems with huge vibrations, parts shaking loose and engines shutting down prematurely, it was decided that on its third time in space, there would be humans on board and they would go all the way to the moon.

Apollo 8 is often considered the most daring mission because it was the first time human beings left the gravitational pull of the Earth and committed themselves to another heavenly body. It was also the first time humanity saw itself as a single living entity with the famous "Earthrise" picture taken from the moon.

Never, in the history of technology has there been such inventiveness, innovation, daring, and remarkable achievements in such a short time as the moon missions. It is amazing what can be accomplished with virtually unlimited funds, an enormous workforce, and willingness to take huge risks. And of course those risks paid off when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin touched down on the moon for the first time … with only seconds of fuel remaining in the tanks.

Of course, those conditions don't exist today. The NASA workforce is one-tenth of what it used to be and funds are limited. The last 45 years have been spent building space shuttles and the International Space Station, which is why we don't have the technology to take people back to the moon.

Another giant rocket that will rival the Saturn V, called the SLS, is under construction, which could take astronauts beyond the moon, possibly to Mars. But it is tremendously expensive and behind schedule, with its first flight now pushed back to 2020.

The other contender is the Falcon 9 Heavy, being built by the private corporation SpaceX. It is scheduled to fly within the next few months, but a recent test of new engines resulted in an explosion, and  the company's founder, billionaire Elon Musk, says there is a good chance the rocket will not make it on the first try.

Anyone who was around during the heady days of the moon program was convinced that half a century later we would be taking family holidays on the moon, setting off from an orbiting space hotel.

Oh, well.

Vanja Sotos
Set Decorator
Answer # 3 #

We know that the Moon contains the material and energy resources needed to create new spaceflight capabilities—specifically, that polar water can be harvested using the energy provided by the permanent sunlight to make rocket propellant and life-support consumables.

Constance Gravenhorse
Audio Engineer
Answer # 4 #

"Fly Me to the Moon", originally titled "In Other Words", is a song written in 1954 by Bart Howard. The first recording of the song was made in 1954 by Kaye Ballard. Frank Sinatra's 1964 version was closely associated with the Apollo missions to the Moon.

In 1999, the Songwriters Hall of Fame honored "Fly Me to the Moon" by inducting it as a "Towering Song".[1]

The song was also used extensively and liberally in the 2010 video game Bayonetta.

In 1954, when he began to write the song that became "Fly Me to the Moon", Bart Howard had been pursuing a career in music for over 20 years.[2] He played piano to accompany cabaret singers, but also wrote songs with Cole Porter, his idol, in mind.[3] In response to a publisher's request for a simpler song,[4] Bart Howard wrote a cabaret ballad[5] which he titled "In Other Words". A publisher tried to make him change some words from "fly me to the Moon" to "take me to the Moon," but Howard refused.[6] Many years later Howard commented that "... it took me 20 years to find out how to write a song in 20 minutes."[6]

He used his position as a piano accompanist and presenter at the Blue Angel cabaret venue to promote the song,[4] and it was soon introduced in cabaret performances by Felicia Sanders.[3]

The song was composed in 34 time signature but was changed to 44 by Quincy Jones in his arrangement.[7]

Kaye Ballard made the song's first[8] commercial recording, released by Decca in April 1954.[9] A brief review published on May 8, 1954, in Billboard said that "In Other Words" was "...a love song sung with feeling by Miss Ballard."[10] This recording was released as the flipside of "Lazy Afternoon", which Kaye Ballard was currently performing as star of the stage show The Golden Apple.[11]

Over the next few years, jazz and cabaret singers released cover versions of "In Other Words" on EP or LP record albums, including Chris Connor,[12] Johnny Mathis,[13] Portia Nelson,[14] and Nancy Wilson.[15] Eydie Gormé sang the song on her 1958 album Eydie In Love,[16] which reached No. 20 in the Cashbox Album Charts.[17]

In 1960, Peggy Lee released the song on the album Pretty Eyes,[18] then made it more popular when she performed it in front of a large television audience on The Ed Sullivan Show.[3] As the song's popularity increased, it became better known as "Fly Me to the Moon",[19] and in 1963 Peggy Lee convinced Bart Howard to make the name change official.[6] Connie Francis released two non-English versions of the song in 1963: in Italian as "Portami Con Te"[20] and in Spanish as "Llévame a la Luna".[21]

In 1962, Joe Harnell arranged and recorded an instrumental version in a bossa nova style. It was released as a single in late 1962.[22][23] Harnell's version spent 13 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching No. 14 on February 23, 1963,[24] while reaching No. 4 on Billboard's Middle-Road Singles chart.[25][26] Harnell's version was ranked No. 89 on Billboard's end of year ranking "Top Records of 1963".[27] Harnell's recording won him a Grammy Award at the 5th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Performance by an Orchestra – for Dancing.[28][29] His version was included on his album Fly Me to the Moon and the Bossa Nova Pops[30] released in early 1963, which reached No. 3 stereo album on the Billboard Top LP's chart.[31]

Julie London included a cover of the song for her 1963 album The End of the World.[32] Paul Anka released a version of "Fly Me To The Moon" in 1963, appearing in his album Our Man Around the World.[33]

Frank Sinatra included the song on his 1964 album It Might as Well Be Swing, accompanied by Count Basie.[34] The music for this album was arranged by Quincy Jones,[34][35] who had worked with Count Basie a year earlier on the album This Time by Basie, which also included a version of "Fly Me to the Moon".[36] Will Friedwald commented that "Jones boosted the tempo and put it into an even four/four" for Basie's version, but "when Sinatra decided to address it with the Basie/Jones combination they recharged it into a straight swinger... [which]...all but explodes with energy".[5] Bart Howard estimated that by the time Frank Sinatra covered the song in 1964, more than 100 other versions had been recorded.[5]

Bobby Womack recorded a version that was released in 1968 on Minit Records, from his album Fly Me to the Moon. His rendition reached No. 52 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 16 on the R&B chart.[37] Occasionally on the CBS series WKRP in Cincinnati, an instrumental sampling of "Fly Me To The Moon" was used as a doorbell melody during scenes taking place in the apartment of character Jennifer Marlowe.[38]

In 1991, this song notably featured in the soundtrack of Once Around.

By 1995, the song had been recorded more than 300 times.[11] The Japanese animated series Neon Genesis Evangelion uses several versions of the song sung by Claire Littley, Yoko Takahashi, and various female cast members of the series for the closing music of each episode; everywhere outside Japan, the song was removed from the 2019 Netflix streaming version, 2021 (and later) Blu-ray releases, and cinema screenings due to licensing issues, much to the dismay of fans.[39][40][41] According to a poll conducted by Japanese music magazine CD&DL Data in 2016 about the most representative songs associated with the Moon, the cover version by Claire Littley and Yoko Takahashi was ranked 7th by 6,203 respondents.[42] The Claire cover version won the Planning Award of Heisei Anisong Grand Prize among the anime theme songs from 1989 to 1999.[43]

In the 2009 video game Bayonetta, a remix of "Fly Me to the Moon", titled "Fly Me to the Moon (∞ Climax Mix)", sung by Helena Noguerra, is used as the game's battle theme.[44] During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic a 6-year-old girl in China named Miumiu made national news when her home video of the song was found and edited by a group of Italian musicians led by Bruno Zucchetti, who added an instrumental accompaniment performed from their homes during lockdown.[45]

In the 2021 South Korean Netflix series, Squid Game, the song is featured during the Red Light, Green Light game. This version was sung by South Korean singer Joo Won.

In June 2022, the South Korean mobile game Moonlight Blade M (developed by Tencent) uses a version of the song sung by Taeyeon for being the game's theme track.[46]

Frank Sinatra's 1964 recording of "Fly Me to the Moon" became closely associated with NASA's Apollo space program. A copy of the song was played on a Sony TC-50 portable cassette player on the Apollo 10 mission which orbited the Moon,[47] and also on Apollo 11 before the first landing on the Moon.[48][49] The song's association with Apollo 11 was reprised many years later when Diana Krall sang it at the mission's 40th anniversary commemoration ceremony,[50] and also for mission commander Neil Armstrong's memorial service in 2012.[51]

The Sinatra version was also used in the 2000 NASA related fictional film Space Cowboys.

Emerson ueojou
Answer # 5 #

In an event held in Houston, the agency named NASA astronauts Christina Hammock Koch, Victor Glover, Reid Wiseman and Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen as the crew for its upcoming Artemis II flight, slated to launch in 2024.

“The Artemis II crew represents thousands of people working tirelessly to bring us to the stars,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said at the ceremony. “This is their crew. This is our crew This is humanity’s crew.”

The astronauts will be the first humans to fly in the vicinity of the moon in more than 50 years. They will also be the first to launch aboard NASA’s next-generation megarocket and Orion space capsule. The crew will not land on the moon but will swing around the celestial body, testing the performance of the Orion spacecraft, before returning to Earth.

If successful, NASA has said that the subsequent Artemis III flight will touch down on the moon with a crew that will include the first woman and the first person of color to step foot on the lunar surface.

Wiseman will act as the commander of the Artemis II flight. A former naval aviator test pilot, he was selected to become a NASA astronaut in 2009. In 2014, he launched to the International Space Station on a 165-day mission as part of the Expedition 41 crew.

NASA said Glover, a former captain in the U.S. Navy, will be the mission’s pilot. He was selected as an astronaut in 2013 and previously flew on the second crewed flight of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft to the space station.

Koch and Hansen will serve as mission specialists on the Artemis II flight. Koch, who became an astronaut in 2013, set a record in 2020 for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, after spending a total of 328 days in space aboard the space station. During that mission, she also participated in the first all-female spacewalk.​

Hansen was selected by the Canadian Space Agency to become an astronaut in 2009. The former fighter pilot will be the first Canadian to venture to the moon.

Artemis II will be the first fully crewed test flight as part of NASA's efforts to return to the moon.

Antoine Schermer
Answer # 6 #

I was engaged in two workshop-conferences last week in Columbia, Maryland. The first was the annual meeting of the Lunar Exploration and Analysis Group (LEAG)—a group of lunar scientists and engineers who came to share ideas about new missions, measurements and exploration. The second workshop specifically focused on a return to the Moon—what architectural approaches, equipment and organization are needed to accomplish this feat. In a manner similar to our previous attempts at lunar return, I kept hearing a distinctive low buzz at these meetings: Why are we going to the Moon? What’s the mission?

These same questions were asked in 2004 after the Moon was announced as a destination, and planning for the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) commenced. I’ve since memorized the stitches on this fastball, so it doesn’t surprise me at all when I hear them raised now. Similar ignorance was proffered then, deflecting us away from the lunar goal, even though President George W. Bush specifically outlined reasons why in his speech calling for lunar return. Ideally, the time for clarity is at the beginning of a mission, because how you go depends on what you are trying to accomplish—understanding the architectural implications of what pieces are needed and how they should operate together is the first order of business.

In brief, the mission of the VSE was that we were going to the Moon to learn, to work, and to prepare for more ambitious voyages deeper into space. As part of this effort, the President specifically mentioned that the surface of the Moon contains resources that could be harvested and that would enable greater exploration. This announcement came in 2004 when the idea of ice at the poles of the Moon was still being widely disparaged. Two years later, President Bush’s Science Advisor John Marburger outlined the most cogent, articulate rationale for a national space program that I’ve ever heard. His clarion words were pure gold, and now, with additional information about these lunar resources, they hold even more potency. Notable in Marberger’s speech was this pointed statement about our national space policy: As I see it, questions about the Vision boil down to whether we want to incorporate the Solar System in our economic sphere, or not.

For more than two decades—ever since the announcement of ice possibly hidden within the dark regions of the lunar poles—the Moon has been visited by a variety of robotic explorers from many interested nations. Multiple measurements taken by instruments flown on these missions confirm ice at the poles. Simultaneously, the search for “peaks of eternal light,” has identified numerous places near the Moon’s poles that are illuminated for more than 80 percent (in some cases, more than 90 percent) of the 14-day/night lunar cycle. These areas not only permit the generation of constant electrical power, they also offer a benign thermal environment for facilities and habitats of the outpost. Although we now know that water ice occurs near the poles, we still need detailed information on its physical properties, the nature of the terrain around the largest ice deposits, and how its concentration varies on meter-scales.

The discovery of both quasi-permanent sunlight and significant water deposits in proximity at the poles confirms that the Moon is habitable on a sustainable basis. We know that the Moon contains the material and energy resources needed to create new spaceflight capabilities—specifically, that polar water can be harvested using the energy provided by the permanent sunlight to make rocket propellant and life-support consumables. These commodities are high in mass but low in complexity, and their provision from the shallow gravity well of the Moon (rather than deep gravity well of Earth) helps us break the “tyranny of the rocket equation.” The significance of a place only 400,000 km away from Earth—one that is ideal for learning how to live and work sustainably off-planet—is probably the most profound discovery about the Moon in the last 100 years.

A mission statement is vital for people to succinctly understand and fully comprehend the reasons for returning to the Moon. Ideally, a mission statement is a simple, declarative sentence, one that permits no ambiguity about intentions or execution. There is much truth in the belief that if you can’t sum up your mission in just a few words, you probably don’t understand it yourself. One’s mission statement must encompass both anticipated activities and imply the value of its accomplishment.

In 2006, more than two years after President Bush announced the Vision and lunar return, and despite John Marberger’s speech clearly stating a rationale for lunar return, NASA used its bureaucratic process to collect a gathering of a few hundred people, then assembled them in Washington D.C. for three days and charged them to come up with a detailed rationale for lunar return. The assembled multitude produced a spreadsheet with hundreds of activities, actions, measurements and aspirations, along with a poster listing six reasons for lunar return.  The rationale for lunar return had become so diffuse and unclear that NASA needed a wall chart to remind them why they were doing what they were (allegedly) trying to do. Even rocket science doesn’t have to be this hard.

First we must consider the activities encompassed by a human return to the Moon, beginning with a transportation system that permits access to and from the Moon for people and cargo. Once on the Moon, we must protect ourselves from the hostile environment with such a degree of utility and comfort as to permit the performance of useful work. This protection includes life support, shielding from radiation, habitation, mobility, maintenance and continuous, daily operations. Finally, we must identify a series of activities that yield long-term societal value and contribute to the enhancement and furtherance of our spacefaring capabilities. I suggest that all of these activities are summarized in the following mission statement:

We go to the Moon to learn how to live and work productively on another world.

It is not enough to simply get there—once on the Moon, we must accomplish some significant goals. It is not enough to simply live on the Moon—we must learn the skills and acquire the technologies necessary to support human life indefinitely, making use of local resources to support this effort. And we do not go simply to say that we’ve gone—we go to create new technologies, make new discoveries, and create new wealth and new capabilities in space access and flight. To put it succinctly, our overarching goals are to arrive, to survive and to thrive.

If you compare this relatively simple mission statement with the previous NASA efforts to define the entire scope of activities that could be undertaken at a lunar outpost, you will find that all such activities fall under one of the three categories of arrive, survive and thrive. This mission statement is easy to understand and easy to memorize; it does not require detailed elaboration, but is a useful springboard when the occasion arises.

Will NASA adopt this clear mission statement? One can only hope. The more clearly and succinctly we understand our mission, the less likely it will drift away as we encounter the inevitable slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that any long-term project experiences. The KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) applies here, as it inevitably does in most fields of human endeavor.

lgly Henry