IN SPACE – JULY 12: In this video screenshot from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), NASA astronaut Mike Fossum, Expedition 28 Expedition Flight Engineer, is performing repairs on the International Space Station over a scheduled six and a half year period. Hour space walk July 12, 2011 in space. The Space Shuttle Atlantis has embarked on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station, where it will deliver the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module, which is filled with supplies and spare parts. This is the final start of the space shuttle program that began on April 12, 1981 with the launch of Colombia. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images) NASA via Getty Images
Last week, NASA sparked stratospheric speculation and announced that it had made an important “discovery” on the lunar surface. With the news released on Monday by the Stratospheric Infrared Astronomy Observatory (SOFIA), expectations are rising.
According to a statement from the space agency, the discovery “adds to NASA’s efforts to learn about the moon in support of space exploration.” NASA also reminded the world that its Artemis program will send people to the moon in 2024 for the first time since 1972. The mission will include the first woman to ever step on the lunar surface and serve as a link to the space agency’s plans to send humans to Mars in the 2030s.
NASA has not given any direct indication of what it will announce, but there are many conclusions to be drawn. SOFIA is a souped-up 747 jet with an advanced laboratory and a 9-foot telescope that “can observe in infrared wavelengths and detect phenomena that cannot be seen with visible light”. One of the four scientists who will be on board the announcement, Dr. Casey Honniball, has used SOFIA to search for water on the surface of the moon with some success. This is evident from an article she published earlier this year.
Of course there are other options too – Dr. Another NASA scientist who will attend the announcement, Naseem Rangwala, is an expert on astrobiology and has focused in part on studying molecular gas. Perhaps another material was discovered on the moon – or excluded entirely.
There has been no shortage of news about the moon this year. NASA has been ramping up the Artemis project for some time, making the scientific and business announcements. In September, the agency announced that it had found a new, shorter, and more economical route to the moon that could allow the probes to get there cheaply. Last week it was announced that Nokia had been hired to build a cellular network on the lunar surface.
Nokia was one of 15 companies that NASA helped build a human base on the moon under the Artemis program.
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