NASA is looking to build seven bases on the Lunar surface

21st Apr 2023
NASA is looking to build seven bases on the Lunar surface

NASA’s Artemis mission, where they will send the first female and person of colour to the Lunar surface, has just had new developments. In the original plan, NASA were looking to establish a singular base on the Moon, but now, they are wanting to multiply that idea by building several. NASA have said that the multiple Lunar hubs will give the explorers more capacity to explore and research the rocky landscape, revels.

Jim Free, NASA’s associate administrator for exploration systems development, has stated that several Lunar bases may yield better science than the original one that was poised to be placed on the Moon’s south pole. The idea is to build a permeant base that would host rotating crews of astronauts with: “two or three sites… [that will] help our science diversity because the reason we’re doing Artemis in the first place is for science,” Free said.

The reason for the multiple bases & NASA’s main base camp

NASA believes a network of bases will achieve better scientific results, according to Free, because the Artemis explorers can explore more of the Lunar landscape. However, the plan is still in the ideation stage. Still, NASA will be looking to establish a base camp initially on the Moon’s south pole, an area that is believed to have water ice in the shadowed regions, that will allow astronauts to land and depart from. This base camp will contain a range of features: radiation shielding, waste disposal units, and powered infrastructure, which will help support up to four researchers for a week at a time.

Recently, NASA completed a study and collated the first detailed map of the Moon’s water distribution on the Lunar surface. It is expected, that explorers could utilise the map through the Artemis Programme

Illustration of NASA astronauts on the lunar South Pole. Credit: NASA

All the bells and whistles

NASA will be looking to join forces with commercial and international partners to establish the bases. Those partners are the European Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency. The potential joint partnership aims to fund, strategies, and execute the bases that boast a number of features, should the optimistic plan go ahead. Those features include; a Lunar rover that can be used to transport the explorers from base to base, and a habitable mobility platform that the crews can use to visit one another for up to 45 days at a time. NASA have stated that they’re also looking to send unpressurised and pressurised vehicles, and Japan’s Space Agency have joined forces with Toyota to deliver a Moon truck. 

When can we expect the bases to be established?

Unfortunately, NASA have not presented a timeline for the additional bases and have said that they will not be set up anytime soon. However, the idea for the bases have weight, so we can see that NASA’s plan is more than just a pipedream. Ultimately, the network will aid the space agency community with delivering stronger scientific results and establishing a stepping stone to Mars. So, we can’t wait for the Artemis mission to take flight and we wonder what will be uncovered when the various bases are built. 

NASA plans to establish Lunar bases
Infographic showing the evolution of lunar activities on the surface and in orbit. Credit: NASA

What is the Artemis Mission?

The Artemis Mission was first established in 2017, with the aim of “using innovative technologies to explore more of the Lunar surface than ever before,” according to NASA’s website. The mission is set to uncover many unanswered questions, the main one being: can a long-term human presence be established on the Moon? In an effort to not run before they can walk, Artemis is split up into various missions: Artemis 2, which is poised for late 2024, and Artemis 3, which is slated for 2025. 

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