For decades, humans have dreamed about living and working in outer space. However, those ambitions haven’t panned out since the glory days of the mid-20th-century space race. Since the end of the Apollo program, humankind’s outer space ambitions have been limited to near-earth orbit.
But that’s about to change, according to Howard Hu, NASA’s Orion lunar spacecraft program chief. In an interview with the BBC this week, Hu said, “We’re going to be sending people down to the surface, and they’re going to be living on that surface and doing science.” He went on to say that once systems of the Artemis program have been proved safe, he anticipates that humans will be living on the Moon full time “in this decade.”
The Artemis program launched its first voyage to the Moon earlier this month, with Hu’s Orion spacecraft attached to the top of an SLS rocket. While this first mission is uncrewed, Aretimis II, which is scheduled for 2024, is anticipated to have astronauts on board for another lunar flyby. And Artemis III, planned for 2025, will return humans to the lunar surface for the first time since 1972’s Apollo 17 mission.
Further Artemis missions are anticipated to extend human presence on the Moon and eventually build a Lunar Gateway station, which will open up the rest of the solar system to human exploration.