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NASA’s planned lunar base and the technology it will take to build it

The US wants to build a long-term human outpost on the moon around 2030. Here’s all the technology that will be needed, from a lunar-orbiting space station to a way to avoid ‘space hay fever’

Space


September 13, 2022

What would a moon base look like?

ESA/Foster + Partners

The most powerful rocket ever built sits on a launch pad in Florida. Through an intercom, a crowd of onlookers listen to the countdown: “4, 3, 2…”, and then the bottom of the rocket begins to rumble. The vibrations first travel through the soles of the observers’ feet and then hit their bodies like an ocean wave. Jets of steam and fire ricochet off the concrete, and suddenly the rocket shoots skyward. The astronauts inside watch the field shrink below them as they begin their journey to the moon.

This scene could be from six decades ago, or it could be a few years in the future. The launches of the Artemis missions that the United States hopes will soon take people to the moon will look a lot like the Apollo launches of the 1960s. But that’s where the similarities end. “Apollo was amazing, but a lot of it was just showing that we could do it,” says NASA’s Steve Creech. “I’m not saying it wasn’t important, but this time we want to do it in a way that is sustainable and leads to the next steps.” In other words, it’s not just about going back to the moon. They are the first glimpses of what many hope will be a sustained campaign of human space exploration.

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