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Preparations for manned mission: Nasa sends German doll on a flight around the moon – knowledge

With the “Artemis” mission, the US space agency Nasa is planning the future of manned space travel: After 50 years, back to the moon, including the first woman, and then to Mars. So far, however, the mission has mainly been plagued by crises. The still unmanned, but first major test flight is scheduled for early Monday afternoon.

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The program, named after the Greek goddess of the moon, is extremely complex: US astronauts are supposed to go back to the moon. A rover is also to be included, and mankind’s outposts are also to be created on the moon and in its orbit. Among other things, possibilities for the production of solar and nuclear energy are to be explored on the moon.

Later, astronauts are even supposed to target Mars – with the moon outpost “Gateway” as their base camp. During its test flight, “Artemis 1” is to orbit the moon and land again in the Pacific around 40 days later.

Why should people go to the moon again?

Actually, Mars was NASA’s goal – but former US President Trump had put the focus back on the moon, also, observers say, because Trump had wanted US astronauts on the moon during his presidency in order to do that than to celebrate his success. However, Trump was then voted out in 2020. The moon remained the goal – with Mars as a long-term goal.

What does NASA specifically expect from the mission?

“We’re flying back to the moon for scientific discovery, economic benefit and to inspire a new generation of explorers,” NASA said. “We’ll keep American dominance in exploration, but at the same time build a global alliance and explore deep space for the benefit of all.” A kind of lunar economic sector with many jobs is to be created.

From the exploration of the moon, the Nasa scientists hope not only new information about the satellite itself, but also about the earth and the entire solar system. The moon mission is also intended to prepare for the landing of humans on Mars, among other things through technical innovations.

What is the schedule now?

Originally, the government of former US President Donald Trump had announced a first manned landing by 2024. However, the current Nasa boss Bill Nelson, appointed by Trump’s successor Joe Biden, quickly made it clear that this schedule could not be kept and postponed the first manned landing to 2025 at the earliest. Nasa recently identified 13 possible landing positions on the moon.

[Lesen Sie auch: Rückkehr zum Mond steht bevor: Diesmal sollen die Astronauten bleiben – das nächste Ziel ist der Mars (T+)]

How much does all this cost?

More than 30 billion dollars are initially estimated. In addition to NASA and the European Space Agency Esa, the space agencies of several other countries are also involved.

What equipment to use?

Mainly the heavy lift rocket “Space Launch System” and the capsule “Orion”. It is the “most powerful rocket ever built” and currently the “only rocket that can fly to the moon with a crew,” said Nasa boss Nelson recently at a press conference.

NASA has big plans for manned spaceflight.Photo: dpa/NASA

Among other things, Esa supplied an important component of the “Orion” spacecraft with the European service module. Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are currently competing for the contract to build a moon landing device.

Why were there so many delays?

The development and construction of the missile system took longer and was more expensive than anticipated. In addition, there were repeated setbacks because new technical problems arose during tests.

What is known about the crew?

Nasa has set itself a target: It should definitely be the first woman and the first non-white person among them. But who that should be exactly and who else could be on board is not yet clear. According to NASA, all current astronauts of the space agency are possible candidates. A Canadian astronaut should also be there – and European astronauts could also fly with “Artemis” to the “Gateway” outpost and then even to the moon itself.

Do other countries also have moon plans?

China is also working on putting its own astronauts on the moon. The People’s Republic has landed on the surface of the moon several times with research robots and has also successfully returned moon rocks to earth. In the 2030s, according to reports from the Chinese state media, a permanent station is to be built on the moon in a further step. The research station could therefore be set up and operated jointly with Russia.

In addition, India and the United Arab Emirates, among others, have their sights set on the moon, albeit without concrete manned plans for the time being.

Is “Artemis 1” really completely unmanned?

There are no living people on board – but at least two dolls: Zohar and Helga. This is a project with German and Israeli participation. It is being tested whether a protective vest developed in Israel can effectively protect a female body in particular from dangerous space radiation.

[Lesen Sie auch: Rückkehr zum Mond: Die Nasa schickt in neuer Rakete Puppen ins All (T+)]

Only one of the dolls developed in Germany, which imitate the female body with bones, soft tissue and genitals, is said to wear the protective vest developed by the Israeli startup StemRad. The torsos are equipped with radiation detectors. These are intended to show how great the stress on the internal organs of astronauts would be on a moon trip.

When was the last time people walked on the moon?

That was almost exactly 50 years ago. “We are going as we came, and if God wills, we will come back the same way – with peace and hope for all mankind,” said NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan, who died in 2017, before he died in December 1972 with the ” Apollo 17″ mission left the earth’s satellite again – as the last person to have walked on the moon.

Between 1969 and 1972, the USA was the only country to bring a total of twelve astronauts to the moon with the “Apollo” missions. With “Artemis” – twin sister of “Apollo” in Greek mythology – Nasa now wants to catch up. (dpa, by Christina Horsten and Sara Lemel)

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