‘Billion Dollar Rush’ of World Powers: Compete to Find Something More Expensive Than Gold!

Tram Ho

NASA ‘s effort to return humans to the surface of the Moon by 2025 is something this country has been cooking for a long time. The Artemis program – the 21st-century lunar landing program, which began at the behest of President Donald Trump’s administration through “Space Policy Directive 1” in December 2017, is on the verge of creating missions. extremely important premise in reasserting the US superpower position in space exploration .

On a global scale, the US is not the only country planning a trip to the Moon and then stay here. Many other countries around the world are also eager to join with clear determination.

For some countries, space exploration remains a powerful ‘amplifier’ of fame and glory. But for many other countries, “Moon Fever” is really a competition to find rich and expensive lunar resources before others can.

For example, the water ice reserves on Earth’s natural satellite can be harvested and processed into propellants that make deep space travel much less expensive. Or Helium-3 , an extremely rare resource on Earth, could help power future spacecraft.

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Unlike Earth, which is protected by its magnetic field, the Moon has been bombarded with large amounts of Helium-3 by the solar wind. It is thought that this isotope could provide safer nuclear power in a fusion reactor, as it is non-radioactive and will not produce hazardous wastes.

And yet, there are many important rare or precious metals present on the Moon that can help us operate new technologies that are becoming more accessible on the Moon than anywhere else on Earth. Soil.

Over the next few years, we will see the launch of a series of different Moon missions taking place in many countries around the world. Some missions will just stop at orbiting the Moon or orbiting the Moon, others will land probes, some will land humans and then deploy rovers and other robots to explore more deeply.

All the missions to the Moon that cost billions of dollars of these countries are just a ‘prelude’ to the permanent presence of people on the Moon, because the long-term plan is that they will establish a station (refueling) for travel to Mars and deeper space.

What exactly are those missions?

NASA (USA): ARTEMIS I, II, III – AUGUST 2022, 2023, 2025

The Artemis I mission was essentially a ‘first-and-forth’ test: It was the first launch (not test) of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) [the most powerful super rocket in history] NASA; set the stage for later American deep space exploration]; Also the first real deep space test of the Orion spacecraft.

Although the Orion on the Artemis I mission will not have a crew, a number of low-cost experiments will be conducted on the first Artemis Program mission.

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NASA’s ambition is to bring people to live and work sustainably on the Moon. Photo: NASA

This includes studying the lunar environment, such as measuring radiation levels or how dust behaves during landing. However, Artemis I’s most exciting mission will be to try to pinpoint the exact location of exposed water ice on the surface of Earth’s natural satellites.

By 2023, NASA will launch the Artemis II mission. At that time, the Orion spacecraft will carry the crew around the Moon to probe the landing site.

In 2025, the Artemis III mission (if successful) will make the world admire the Americans once again when sending people to the Moon after a flight journey of 384,000 km. This time, the US sent the first black female astronaut and astronaut to set foot on Earth’s natural satellite.

Total funding for NASA’s Artemis Program amounts to $93 billion, according to data from NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

CHINA: CHANG’E 6 – IN 2024

China’s remarkably successful Chang’e lunar exploration program shows no signs of slowing down.

Following the success of Chang’e 5, China plans to conduct a Chang’e 6 mission in 2024 to sample the Moon in an even more challenging region on the far side of the Moon: the Southern Basin. Pole-Aitken (SPA).

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An illustration of the Chang’e-5 probe successfully landing on the Moon. Photo: China National Space Administration (CNSA)

The SPA Basin is an ancient, massive impact crater about 2,500 kilometers in diameter, covering nearly a quarter of the far side of the Moon. The SPA basin, considered the oldest on the Moon, holds important clues about the history of the Moon and Solar System.

RUSSIA FEDERAL: LUNA 25, 26, 27 – AUGUST 2022, 2024 AND 2025

The last mission in the Luna program was in 1976, when the world was still in the Soviet Union.

Not wanting to fall behind in the 21st-century “Moon Fever,” Russia is revitalizing its lunar program with a new set of missions focused on facilitating mining operations in the future. future.

After nearly 5 decades of hiatus, on August 22, 2022, Russia will restart its lunar exploration program with the launch of the Luna 25 probe. Luna 25 will land in the South Pole region of the Moon, at north of the Boguslavsky crater.

Luna 25’s mission is to demonstrate new landing and drilling technologies into the surface of the lunar south pole to study the composition of the soil for water ice, Helium-3, carbon and nitrogen, precious metals and any other Other interesting resources here.

Then, in 2024, Luna 26 will be launched to deploy a large science spacecraft in orbit around the Moon, to find out where these resources might be located throughout the Moon.

A year later, the Luna 27 lander will land in the Aitken Basin on the far side of the Moon to launch a special search for minerals, volatiles (nitrogen, water, carbon dioxide, ammonia, hydrogen, methane) and sulfur dioxide) and water ice in the permanently occulted region of the Moon.

JAPAN: SLIM – 2023

This is Japan’s first mission to the surface of the Moon.

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SLIM was Japan’s first mission to the surface of the Moon. Photo: JAXA

If the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) wants to add its name to the list of countries that send landers to the Moon in the world, this mission is very important in proving JAXA is ready to land. Is it safe to fly to the Moon?

The SLIM (Moon Probe Intelligent Lander) mission will use technologies similar to facial recognition systems to recognize lunar craters and determine a safe location to touch down near the crater. Marius Hills.

This is an area believed to have an ancient lava tube nearly 92 meters deep, which could protect human outposts from future solar radiation.

It can be said that SLIM is the embodiment of the research of techniques that enable precise landing and demonstration of techniques on the Moon. These innovations, if successful, will propel JAXA toward the capabilities needed for future lunar missions.

KOREA: KPLO – AUGUST 2022

This will be Korea’s biggest foray into the world of space exploration. Using six different instruments, the KPLO (Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter), the country’s first lunar orbiter, will work to determine the presence of natural resources on the Moon (such as water ice, Helium-3, precious metal…) from lunar orbit.

KPLO is developed and managed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). After launch, KPLO will orbit the Moon for a year, carrying a series of Korean experiments and an American-made instrument (ShadowCam).

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NASA chooses ‘ShadowCam’ to fly with Korea’s KPLO lunar orbiter. Photo: NASA

The goals are to develop technologies for lunar exploration, demonstrate the “internet of space” and conduct scientific investigations of the environment, topography and resources of the Moon, as well as identify locations. potential landing site for the country’s future missions.

KPLO will be launched from the US Kennedy Space Center from Cape Canaveral, Florida on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

INDIA: CHANDRAYAAN 3 – 2023

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said it will launch the Chandrayaan 3 mission in the first quarter of 2023. After the failure of Chandrayaan 2, the Chandrayaan 3 mission will inherit and demonstrate the capabilities of a spacecraft. could land on India’s lunar surface, setting the stage for the country’s future exploration missions.

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The Chandrayaan 3 mission will be launched in the first quarter of 2023. Photo: ISRO

After that, Chandrayaan 3 will conduct investigations to help characterize water ice reserves at the Moon’s south pole.

If India succeeds in landing, it will be on the list of rare countries in history to send spacecraft to the surface of the Moon.

Articles using sources: NASA, JAXA, SPACE, Technology Review, India Today

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Source : Genk