NASA, along with a group of international scientists and space programs, is making plans for a Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway. It will be an outpost for astronauts to live, work and carry out missions on the moon’s surface… and maybe beyond.
This outpost would not be quite like the International Space Station (ISS). It would be much smaller, and would be uncrewed, with a crew boarding the outpost annually. They’re calling it a human-tended Gateway around the moon. This, according to space.com.
The idea is that the Gateway would be a staging area for other missions. And, though the outpost itself is not meant to be a scientific one, many scientists are excited about the opportunity it presents for scientific discovery. Learning more about the surface of the moon is an obvious benefit, but an outpost in lunar orbit could also give us whole-Earth observations from space at a distance that we wouldn’t otherwise obtain from satellites or the ISS. This could give scientists a better idea of how Earth-like planets in other parts of the universe may appear to us. And, that could get us closer to finding life beyond our own planet!!
NASA has plans to launch the first stage of the Gateway in 2022, and have the full construction complete after two more launches in 2025. We are going back to the moon in a big way. What do you think?