This year marks 50 years since astronauts last walked on the Moon and the coming year has already been dubbed ‘The 2022 Moon Rush’ so here is what we know:
- South Korea’s first lunar spacecraft an orbiter, is to be launched this summer.
- UAE hopes to become the first Arab country to operate a craft on the Moon in the autumn.
- India plans to put a spacecraft on the Moon at some point this year.
- Russia is another hopeful with Luna-25.
- Israel may also soon be represented by Space il. These plans would see a probe land on the far side of the moon in the next couple of years.
NASA along with commercial and international partners is leading the way to the moon with the ARTEMIS Programme and aims to return people there by the middle of the decade. With Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and first person of colour on the Moon.
The ongoing mission will include lots of ”firsts”:
- The Orion Spacecraft will be launched by the Space Launch system rocket ( SLS) and when launched the SLS will become the most powerful rocket in the world.
- An Artemis Base Camp built on the surface of the moon to give astronauts a place to live and work on the moon.
- A lunar-orbiting space station, known as Gateway.
- A human landing system which is the final mode of transportation that will take astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface and back to orbit.
Another milestone we are all looking forward to will be the first images to arrive from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in approximately 6 months’ time around June. JWST, launched aboard Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket on 25th December 2021 and is the world’s largest and most powerful space science telescope and is named after James E. Webb, who was the administrator of NASA from 1961 to 1968 and played an integral role in the Apollo program.
These mission patches and many others are included in the extensive International Space Archives.