Space missions to watch in 2022
Everybody goes to the moon
Putting a rocket into orbit around the Earth is a technical feat, but it only takes half a day’s journey. Fifty years after the last person was on Earth’s nearest neighbor, 2022 will see a crowded list of lunar missions.
NASA will finally launch its much-delayed space launch system. This rocket is taller than the Statue of Liberty and produces more thrust than the mighty Saturn V. The Artemis I mission will leave this spring for a flyby of the Moon. It’s a proof of concept for a rocket system that will one day allow people to live and work off Earth. The immediate goal is to put astronauts back on the Moon by 2025.
NASA is also working to develop the infrastructure of a lunar base and partners with private companies for scientific missions to the Moon. A company called Astrobotic will transport 11 payloads to a large crater on the near side of the Moon, including two mini-rovers and a set of personal memorabilia collected from the general public by a Germany-based company. The Astrobotic lander will also carry the cremated remains of science fiction legend Arthur C. Clarke – like Shatner’s spaceflight, it’s an example of science fiction turned into reality. Another company, Intuitive Machines, is planning two trips to the Moon in 2022, carrying 10 payloads including a lunar hopper and an ice mining experiment.
Russia also participates in the Lunar Act. The Soviet Union accomplished many lunar firsts – the first spacecraft to touch the surface in 1959, the first spacecraft to land in 1966 and the first lunar rover in 1970 – but Russia has not returned for more than 45 years. In 2022, he plans to send the Luna 25 lander to the Moon’s south pole to drill ice. Frozen water is an essential requirement for any moon base.