The first non-American person was supposed to land on the moon before the end of this decade. US Vice President Kamala Harris expresses this ambition. “A trip to the moon is absolutely a private trip, but so far only Americans have gone there,” says space expert Rob van den Berg from the Sonnenburg Observatory in Utrecht.
The Moon mission is part of NASA's Artemis project. Within this project, man will set foot on the moon for the first time since 1972. But the feet that have set foot on the moon so far have been American feet only. Now Harris wants a non-American to have a chance to reach the moon. “It was more or less known that the Europeans would come at some point, but now it has been officially confirmed.”
However, according to van den Berg, it is not only Europeans who are allowed to participate in the Artemis project. “Six places have been taken.” Three for Europeans, two for Canadians and one for Japanese. However, this does not yet mean that they will actually walk on the moon's surface, but for now they will only fly along it.
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The Dutch people, who hope to be the first non-American on the moon, can forget that. Van den Berg knows that there are currently no Dutch candidates within the European Space Agency (ESA). “There are already seven astronauts training. Of those seven, three will eventually join us and one will walk on the moon. That will be a Dane, an English person, a German person, an Italian person or a French person.
First flight in 2024
The first flight within the Artemis project will depart next year. However, this only involves a “moon cycle”. “This mission involves a Canadian looking at the moon from a distance. The Americans will do the landing on the moon. A European astronaut will only join us on one of the upcoming missions,” says van den Berg. But the US vice president promises that will happen before the end of this year. Contract.
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