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NASA Artemis mission: Boeing proposes lunar lander with fastest path to Moon

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NASA has already chosen Maxar to build the power-and-propulsion element for its moon Gateway and Northrop Grumman to build the station's habitat module for astronauts.

Artemis has several components including the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, a space station around the moon that would be accessed by the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle created to take astronauts beyond Earth orbit and capable of carrying up to six astronauts.

Following exploration of the lunar surface by astronauts, the crew lifts off from the moon inside the Ascent Element in this artist concept.

"Using the lift capability of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) Block 1B, we have developed a "fewest steps to the moon" approach that minimizes mission complexity, while offering the safest and most direct path to the lunar surface", said Jim Chilton, senior vice-president of Space and Launch for Boeing Defense, Space and Security.

In Greek mythology Artemis was the goddess of the moon and the twin sister of Apollo. The agency plans to send humans back to the lunar surface by 2024.

It has been 50 years since three fearless men (pictured is Buzz Aldrin) stepped on the moon - and according to NASA, our return is just around the corner.

Boeing is a seasoned aerospace company in comparison to Blue Origin, which has only recently entered the space technology segment.

The Artemis program aims to land American astronauts on the Moon by 2024 and establish a sustainable human presence on Earth's natural satellite. After the capsule docks with the Lunar Gateway, a space station the agency will place in the lunar orbit, the astronauts would transfer to a lander that would take them to the moon itself.

The sample, numbered 73002, was collected by Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt, who drove a 4cm-wide tube into the surface of the moon to collect it, reported the Xinhua news agency, according to Nasa's news release yesterday.

Boeing also points out that its lander eliminates the need for an additional spacecraft.

Humans last set foot on the moon in 1972 with NASA's Apollo 17 mission.

NASA expects to award initial study contracts to several companies as soon as the end of the year, and eventually select two companies to proceed into full-scale development of landers, one which would be used for the initial 2024 landing and the other for a 2025 mission.

This is notable simply because, whilst Vice President Mike Pence has talked about a lunar foundation, some officers inside NASA have adopted a touch-and-go tactic towards the Moon, as if it were being a box to be checked on the way to Mars.

Boeing said its approach would provide NASA with "the best return on its investment". Artemis will also make history by landing the first woman on the Moon.

Today marked the deadline for submissions.

The Apollo 12 crew experienced two lightning strikes just after their Saturn V rocket launched.

David Scott and James Irwin landed on the moon and stayed for three days, until August 2nd. She acknowledged, however, that her schedule reflected "an aspirational time frame".

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