FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) – Indujaa Ganesh, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), has helped NASA find landing sites for the Artemis missions designed to return astronauts to the Moon.
Ganesh was part of a NASA exercise during the pandemic to evaluate a list of potential sites to use as base camps for Artemis, which plans to land a crew on the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.
Ganesh and his colleagues considered factors such as natural light, proximity to water, ice, and the geological makeup of the areas under consideration. All sites are located at or around the Moon’s south pole, which experiences long periods of sunlight similar to the Earth’s poles. Increased sunlight allows astronauts more time and a safer environment to conduct their experiments. “Research on the geological composition of the Moon is important to NASA because it helps us understand how the Moon became a rock,” Ganesh said.
Learning more about moon ice is also important because NASA hasn’t done personal experiments with the substance before, and crews can use the ice as a resource on longer missions.
“We start with a few hours of activity. Then, as we move forward with the mission suite, it becomes something semi-permanent,” Ganesh said, explaining that NASA plans to increase the duration of lunar surface missions under the Artmeis program — missions that could last weeks or months. to do
All of this work to return to the Moon is part of the president’s space policy directive to “enable human expansion throughout the solar system,” according to NASA’s website.
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