Nasa wants to send humans to the moon again within a few years. But first we need answers to some vital questions.
NASA’s plan has been to send humans to the moon’s surface again in 2025. In that case, it would be the first time in over 50 years. Within the framework of the lunar program Artemis, the space organization also wants to build a base on the moon and a space station in orbit.
Earlier in June, Nasa announced two research projects included in Artemis. They can help us answer two important questions, writes Inverse.
- What’s going on inside the moon?
- How can humans survive in the harsh space environment?
The first question is to be answered by The Lunar Volcano Imaging and Spectroscopy Exloprer, Luna-Vise.
There are signs that volcanic activity on the moon may have taken place billions of years ago. Luna-Vise will explore a possible such area: the Gruithuisen domains.
Luna-Vise consists of a stationary lander equipped with a camera and a rover that will explore the place for about ten days. In the meantime, the rover will perform analyzes of dust samples. This can provide answers to how the domains have been formed, how old they are and what they consist of.
How does space radiation affect?
The second question is to be answered by Leia, The Lunar Explorer Instrument for space biology Applications. Leia is equipped with sensors and live yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). Leia will be sent to the moon’s surface, where it will monitor how radiation and the moon’s gravity affect the yeast cells over time. In this way, researchers hope to get answers on how the health of a living organism is affected by that environment.
Today we do not know how the space radiation on the moon would affect our DNA. On Earth, we have the atmosphere as protection against space radiation.
If researchers sort out which of our genes can be hardest hit by space radiation, they can also potentially develop effective treatments. These would minimize the harmful effects of radiation on astronauts on the moon, and later on Mars.
Both Leia and Luna-Vise will leave Earth around 2026, according to the current schedule.