Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator, suggested on Sept. 14 that the space agency would be open to sending the first crewed Artemis mission to a location other than the Moon’s south pole.
In regards to an online meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (known as LEAG), Bridenstine claimed that there might be benefits to sending a mission to the Moon’s equatorial area, which includes the proximity of an Apollo landing site.
“If you’re going to go to the equatorial region again, how are you going to learn the most? You could argue that you’ll learn the most by going to the places where we put gear in the past,” Bridenstine said, hinting towards equipment left behind by former missions.
“There could be scientific discoveries there and, of course, just the inspiration of going back to an original Apollo site would be pretty amazing as well,” he added.
He talked about creating “norms of behavior” for protecting such sites from future missions.
NASA worked hard to put humans on the Moon again, particularly at its south polar regions, where water ice deposits were reportedly discovered.
Vice President Mike Pence set the goal of landing at the Moon’s south pole in his March 2019 speech from a National Space Council meeting that addressed to NASA to enhance the number of human landings on the Moon.
“NASA already knows that the lunar south pole holds great scientific, economic, and strategic value, but now it’s time to commit to go there,” Pence stated.
Bridenstine’s words hint that NAS might be reconsidering its plans.
Landing at the Moon’s poles is significantly more challenging, and no mission managed to land at either of the satellite’s poles yet.
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