Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_Monitoring, This comes after the successful launch of Artemis I last week as part of NASA’s larger mission to take astronauts back to the Moon.
Speaking to BBC, Howard Hu, who oversees the Orion lunar spacecraft programme for the agency, said humans could be staying there for extended durations.
“Well, certainly in this decade we’re going to have people living there,” Hu told BBC.
“They will have habitats and rovers on the ground, that’s what we’re also working on at NASA.”
Humans last walked on the Moon in 1972.
Ultimately, when it comes to people being sent to the Moon, the mission is really about science, Hu added.
“That’s what we’re going to be doing, we’re going to be sending people down to the [Moon’s] surface and they’re going to be living on that surface and doing science.”
NASA says this first Artemis mission will demonstrate the performance of both Orion and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and pave the way for future missions, including landing the first woman and first person of color on the Moon’s surface.
Orion is the vehicle that will take astronauts on Artemis missions. NASA says it’s the only spacecraft capable of human deep space missions and high-speed return to Earth.
NASA’s long-term plan is to establish a “sustainable presence” on the Moon in preparation for missions to Mars.
“Moving forward is really to Mars. That is a bigger stepping stone, a two-year journey depending on the orbit you take,” Hu told the BBC.
“These are the stepping stones that hopefully will allow this future capability … and give those opportunities and option for our kids and their grandkids and their kids.”
NASA hopes to send four astronauts around the Moon on the next flight, in 2024, and land humans there as early as 2025.