March 5, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Manned missions to the moon were postponed, and a commercial lunar landing mission also failed  outside

Manned missions to the moon were postponed, and a commercial lunar landing mission also failed outside

to updateIt will take much longer before people walk on the moon again. The US space agency NASA announced on Tuesday that planned missions had been postponed and were therefore postponed. Earlier today it was also announced that the Peregrine commercial lunar lander mission had ended in failure.

At the end of this year, a vehicle carrying four people will fly to the moon and return without landing. That dress rehearsal, Artemis 2, has been postponed to September 2025. The next mission, Artemis 3, will see people set foot on the moon for the first time since 1972. That will happen next year, but it won't be until September 2026 at the earliest.

According to NASA, the tests revealed problems with components “that should keep the crew safe and ensure mission success.” For example, defects were found in temperature control and air ventilation. The space agency said more time is needed to solve these problems.

The United States also wants to build a space station to orbit the moon. Europe and Japan are developing a living space for this purpose, which will go to the Moon on the fourth Artemis mission. This mission is still planned for 2028. In 2022, a new American capsule went to the moon and back for the first time, with the Artemis I test flight.

Fuel leak after launch

It was also announced on Tuesday that the US unmanned Peregrine lunar lander failed to reach its destination. After the launch on Monday, there was a fuel leak. “Unfortunately, there is no opportunity to make a soft landing on the lunar surface,” said the space company Astrobotic, which designed and built the Peregrine lander.

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The liftoff itself from Cape Canaveral in Florida went smoothly, but in space the spacecraft was unable to point its solar panels toward the sun due to a fuel leak. Without sunlight, the ship cannot generate electricity. The Aviation Administration was able to solve the problem of solar panels coming from the ground, but the same problem returned several times.

The peregrine falcon is supposed to land on the moon in late February. No commercial lander has ever successfully reached there. An attempt by a Japanese space company failed last year. Only the United States itself, the Soviet Union, China and India succeeded in landing on the moon. Astrobotic wants to contribute to new manned missions to the Moon, and has received tens of millions in subsidies from NASA for this purpose.

40 hours of fuel left

According to Astrobotic, Peregrine has about 40 hours of fuel left. This means that the task ends on Thursday. Until then, the company wants to collect as much information as possible. This data can help with the next task. At the end of this year, Astrobotic wants to bring a larger lander to the Moon, with an unmanned rover on board. It will search for traces of water ice at the moon's south pole. This could help in developing bases on the Moon.

There are five NASA measuring instruments on board the lander. The US space agency paid 98.5 million euros for this. The remains of 330 people were among them Star TrekActors Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura), James Doohan (Scotty), and DeForest Kelley (Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy) are on board. Their cremated remains will be buried in capsules.

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An anonymous donor also donated the hair of former US presidents George Washington, John F. Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower. However, the mission was mainly intended to practice flying to the moon and making a difficult landing there.