Lockheed Martin has revealed an ambitious plan for a giant lunar lander that could let astronauts roam the lunar surface for two weeks at a time. The 46 foot (14m), single-stage spacecraft can carry up to four astronauts to the lunar surface, where they can stay for up to 14 days before the vehicle's engines blast it back into lunar orbit. This vehicle would be twice as tall as the Lunar Module used during the Apollo missions to the Moon nearly half a century ago, which carried two astronauts for short stays of no more than a few days. The 14-meter high, single-stage spacecraft can carry up to four astronauts to the lunar surface, where they can stay for up to 14 days before the vehicle's engines blast it back into lunar orbit. Lockheed Martin's concept would use NASA's planned Deep Space Gateway space station as a'mothership', ferrying astronauts to and from the surface.
NASA has revealed plans to take America back to the moon - but will rely on private firms to run the missions. The space agency plans to work with nine private firms, ranging from small startups to giants like Lockheed Martin, to develop robotic landers and systems to mine the natural resources on the moon. This will help develop the technology need for eventual manned missions, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine pledged to have a manned lunar base within a decade. The first new lunar missions could blast off as early next year. The new missions will see the US return to the lunar surface for the first time since Apollo 17 in December 1972, the final mission of the crewed lunar exploration program (pictured, Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon).
Lockheed Martin has unveiled the designs for a reusable lander built to ferry four astronauts and 1.1 tons of cargo between lunar orbit and the surface of the moon. With enough juice to last the full two weeks, refuelling would take place between missions, though the lander can also be powered up on the surface. The preliminary concept relies on four modified RL10 engines, but other engines could also be utilized. Lockheed's vehicle would be be twice as tall as the Lunar Module used during the Apollo missions to the Moon nearly half a century ago, reports Ars Technica, which carried two astronauts for brief stints of just a few days. The company says it will also serve as a precursor for its Mars lander -- also built to carry four people -- which is integral to its Mars Base Camp orbiting mission.
Lockheed Martin has revealed plans to set up a'Mars base camp' orbiting the red planet - and says it hopes to launch it within ten years. Using NASA's Orion spacecraft as the command deck, the orbiting outpost could give astronauts the ability to operate rovers and drones on the surface in real time, helping us better understand the Red Planet and plan for manned missions. 'The time is now,' Lockheed Martin said in a video revealing the project at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia, where it also showed off a lander that could eventually take astronauts form the station to the red planet's surface. Using NASA's Orion spacecraft as the command deck, the orbiting outpost could give scientists the ability to operate rovers and drones on the surface in real time, helping us better understand the Red Planet and work out where manned missions doulc land'Sending humans to Mars has always been a part of science fiction, but today we have the capability to make it a reality,' said Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager of Commercial Civil Space at Lockheed Martin. 'We're proud to have Orion powered-on and completing testing in preparation for its Exploration Mission-1 flight and eventually its journey to Mars.' Mars Base Camp is aligned with NASA's recently-announced lunar Deep Space Gateway approach for developing and testing systems, including Orion, in lunar space before using them to go to Mars.
NASA has released a defiant video outlining details of the Artemis moon mission despite the US government giving just half the requested extra budget to get there by 2024. The agency asked for $1.4 billion to create the lunar lander that would take astronauts to the surface of the moon by 2024, but they've been given $600 million. Space Policy Online, a website that monitors funding and government agenda around space, said this could put the 2024 launch date at risk. In the new video NASA outlines the dozens of stages, parts and processes required to return humans to the lunar surface - including work with commercial partners. NASA will send the first woman and the next man to walk on the surface of the moon by 2024 if plans proceed as scheduled (artist's image of astronauts) There will be six areas of technology involved in the Artemis missions.