Recently, NASA released a video titled “We Are Going.” The video previews an upcoming mission to station an orbiting platform at the moon and to harness the resources on the moon for greater exploratory feats to destinations such as Mars and beyond.
Starting with a reference to the moon landing fifty years ago, the narrator discusses the lasting and increasing importance of space exploration. Then, the video goes on to list the difficulties of space explorations: exposure to radiation, the mental effects of prolonged isolation, gravity issues, and extreme environments literally never seen before. The list of obstacles emphasizes the importance of learning how to capitalize on the resources found on the moon and other destinations.
Moving on, the video then illustrates the new technology developed for this unprecedentedly ambitious mission. They developed a whole new system, The Space Launch System(SLS), so that they would have the ability to launch “larger, heavier payloads off the planet, and beyond earth’s gravity… SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever developed” (“We are Going”). SLS is also capable of being a catalyst for even deeper space missions. To sustain these deeper space missions, NASA also built Orion, a capsule that can support humans through deep space and safely harbor them for the return as well. Orion is “NASA’s next-generation human space capsule.”
The projected time to begin missions is 2024. The first part of the mission is to land at the moon again; however, NASA plans to arrive at the moon “wholly different” than how they did 50 years ago. This time they want the lunar landers to be reusable and deploy-able anywhere on the surface. In order to accomplish this, they have to give the landers a transition, a platform, that orbits the moon. The platform will act as a way-point for human capsules or to host deep space experiments. This lunar outpost will be named Gateway.
Returning back to the idea of utilizing the resources on the moon, the video then explains NASA’s intentions to use the millions of tons of water ice on the moon for extracting oxygen and hydrogen that can then be used as rocket fuel.
This system of using an orbital platform for catalytic propulsion into deeper space and to harness the resources of local environments can be replicated; therefore, NASA believes this plan is the beginning of many “great adventures.”
The video concludes with a poetic repetition of “We are going,” emphasizing the years of exploration foreshadowed by this announcement. Cole Robinson (12) is excited about the technological advancements and ambitions: “It is inevitable that humans will need to explore space at greater lengths. NASA’s plans may be ambitious; however, I believe humanity can benefit from the deep space exploration enabled by this new mission.”