A senior NASA official told the BBC that in the next few years, the American space organization has in mind not only the goal of returning humans to the moon, but to make some of them live right there.
A milestone that would mark new historic goals for civilization, all "children" of the ambitious hopes that NASA has for its Artemis program.
Live on the Moon by 2030
Howard Hu is the person who oversees the Orion spacecraft used in the Artemis program. And in an interview with the BBC declared that NASA already aims during "this decade" to bring human beings permanently on our satellite.
It will take a lot of effort if that is the goal: the unmanned mission Artemis 1 it launched this week after months of delays. In the test flight (which will lead to lunar orbit) 3 "dummies" are involved which will allow to evaluate the exposure to space radiation.
Unforeseen permitting, in just over a year (in 2024) Artemis 2 will take humans into lunar orbit, and one year Artemis 3 more humans will put a foot and a flag on the Moon once again. 2025, in short, as a new year zero. How far will it go from there to a lunar base?
And further still, on the journey of human beings to Mars?
Humans haven't set foot on the moon since the Apollo 17 mission. It was 1972, and I hadn't been born yet.
The mammoth Artemis program (at an estimated cost of 93 billion dollars) has been in place for years with the aim of establishing a human presence on the moon before travel to mars.
Hu told the BBC that a main goal will be to explore the south pole of the moon to determine if there is water there. Helium-3, water and Regolith they may be the 3 pillars that will found human exploration of the cosmos, starting with the red planet.
And when the Orion capsule of the Artemis 1 mission returns to Earth (or, if you prefer, it will ditch in the ocean) on December 11th, it will already be time to think about the aftermath.
The new space race, more open than ever
The renewed interest in space missions has unleashed a new space race, no longer just public, on the contrary: with massive injections of money and private activities.
Leaving aside Elon Musk and its SpaceX already involved in these important months, also the founder of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson, visited space on July 11 last year. A few days later, on July 20, too Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon e Blue Origin, went up there.
Who knows if this competition will really make us forge ahead, not just fuel, to plant the first "home" of human beings on the Moon.