KEY POINTS

  • Scientists explain how Moon mission will prepare NASA for a Mars expedition
  • NASA will use the Moon as a testing ground for a human expedition to Mars
  • The agency plans to extract water from the Moon and Mars

Scientists from NASA explained how the upcoming mission to the Moon under the Artemis program would prepare the agency for its first human expedition to Mars. One of the aspects NASA intends to learn on the Moon is how to properly extract resources from the Red Planet in preparation for a human colony.

For years, NASA has been discussing the details of Artemis, which is the agency’s next spaceflight program. It will be kicked off with a new mission to the Moon, followed by the world’s first crewed voyage to Mars.

According to NASA, it plans to use the upcoming lunar mission as a form of training ground for a future Mars expedition. Of course, since the agency has already visited the Moon before, it already has a basic idea of how it will handle the new lunar mission. Going to Mars, on the other hand, poses new sets of challenges. One of these is the harsh environmental conditions of the Red Planet.

In a previous Reddit Ask-Me-Anything session, scientists from NASA explained in detail how they plan to explore Mars using the technology developed for the Moon. According to lunar scientists Dr. Daniel Moriarty, the Moon will serve as a sort of laboratory where astronauts will be able to test their spacesuits in preparation for a Mars mission. This will help them prepare for the environmental conditions on the Red Planet.

“I can imagine a scenario where the Moon functions as a laboratory for testing new spacesuits or habitation structures in dusty, low-gravity, low-atmosphere environments,” he explained.

Aside from this, NASA plans to learn how its astronauts will be able to extract important resources on the Moon. This includes obtaining and purifying water from the lunar surface. As explained by Moriarty, extracting water from the Moon will reduce or even eliminate the need for resupply missions from Earth.

If this can be successfully done, NASA will be able to establish outposts on the Moon that’s capable of supporting humans. The agency is hoping to use the same concept on Mars.

“On the Moon, we can test ways to extract and purify lunar water, which could help us reduce the amount of water that would need to be supplied from Earth,” Moriarty stated. “We could perfect this technology on the nearby Moon before relying on it for Mars.”