NASA Artemis 1 launch postponed
GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)
NASA has postponed the launch of the Artemis 1 mission as one of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s four RS-25 engines malfunctioned during the tanking stages. The four liquid-propelled engines were supposed to be bled with liquid hydrogen and oxygen to condition them ahead of launch but team engineers noticed that engine number 3 was not bleeding as expected. The next available launch window is on 2 September 2022. But NASA hasn’t yet confirmed whether it will make another attempt on that day.
What is the Artemis program?
- This first flight of the first biology experiment, a 21st century Moon exploration program, conducted by the United States Space agency has named Artemis after Apollo's mythological twin sister.
- According to their Twitter bio, NASA aims to ‘land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon’.
- The Artemis program is a human and robotic Moon exploration program. If successful, the Artemis program will reestablish a human presence on the Moon for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
- The 322-foot (98-meter) rocket is the most powerful ever built by NASA, out-muscling even the Saturn V that carried astronauts to the moon a half-century ago.
- Chandrayaan-1’s discovery of lunar water helped revitalise global interest in exploring the Moon. On 14 November 2008, India had released the Moon Impact Probe onboard Chandrayaan-1 orbiter to impact into the Shackleton crater, which eventually helped confirm the presence of water ice.
- On 24 September 2009, Nasa reported that its Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) spectrometer onboard Chandrayaan-1 probe had detected "absorption features" on the surface of the Moon.
- In August 2018, Nasa confirmed that M3 showed water ice is present on the surface at the Moon poles. Water was also confirmed to be on the sunlit surface of the Moon on 26 October 2020.
- India is planning to land a rover on the moon during its Chandrayaan-3 mission in 2023.