After its next planned astronaut moon landing, NASA’s Project Artemis intends to land astronauts on Mars, explained NASA Deputy Administrator James Morhard in a Friday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow.
Morhard reflected on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s moon landing.
“As we celebrate Apollo, we’re really recognizing that all of us are a part of something that’s much larger than ourselves,” said Morhard. “This is one of the greatest achievements known to any man or woman. When you think about it, we really demonstrated the power of our vision to land a man on the moon and return them safely to Earth.”
Morhard described the Apollo series’ of missions legacy, “In the meantime, we created a technical and scientific revolution that’s still going on today.”
“While we’re celebrating Apollo, we’re also celebrating our future of going to Mars,” added Morhard. “I’m here to get us to the moon and then Mars, and to get to the moon by 2024, I’ve got to make that clear.”
Morhard described elements of the Artemis Project.
“We’re building the biggest rocket ever made,” noted Morhard. “It’s called the Space Launch System. … It’s going to have the ability to carry the largest mass [and] weight ever, bigger than Apollo. The capsule is called Orion. We just put the service module attached to the capsule down at [Kennedy Space Center]. We are assembling the rocket, and four of the five sections are already assembled, the engines have been delivered, they’re going to start putting those on, and we’ll start testing it.”
NASA describes its Gateway project on its website:
NASA is working with its partners to design and develop a small spaceship that will orbit the Moon called the Gateway. This spaceship will be a temporary home and office for astronauts, just about a five-day, 250,000-mile commute from Earth.
The Gateway will have living quarters, laboratories for science and research, docking ports (like doors) for visiting spacecraft, and more. It will provide NASA and its partners access to more of the lunar surface than ever before, supporting both human and robotic missions.
The Gateway will be our home base for astronaut expeditions on the Moon, and future human missions to Mars. Even before our first trip to Mars, astronauts will use the Gateway to train for life far away from Earth, and we will use it to practice moving a spaceship in different orbits in deep space.
Morhard concluded, “We’re trying to improve the human condition for all people, not just Americans, but all people on Earth. Isn’t that what the United States is about? That’s what we’re trying to do.”
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Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.