(ORDO NEWS) — NASA has identified 13 potential landing sites for the upcoming Artemis III mission, which will see astronauts land on the moon for the first time since 1972.
Scientists tried to find places with enough sunlight, while still accessing the darkened areas of craters and mountainous terrain near the south pole of the moon.
The Artemis I rocket is currently on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center, awaiting its launch on August 29. The Artemis II mission is scheduled for 2024, astronauts will go to orbit the moon.
The Artemis III flight is scheduled for 2025, as part of this mission, two of the four astronauts, including the first woman, will land on the surface of the moon.
Each of the selected features is approximately 15 x 15 km in size, with a landing site radius of 100 m. de Gerlach-Kocher, Haworth Crater, Malapert Massif, Leibniz Beta Plateau, Nobile and Nobile 2 Craters, Amundsen Crater.
They are far from the six places visited by astronauts during the Apollo missions in 1969-1972.
NASA will make the final choice closer to the launch date, as the availability of locations depends on what time of the year the rocket will be launched from the Kennedy Space Center.
All 13 locations are within 6 degrees of the south pole of the moon. They were chosen based on the results of decades of observations, including those from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Scientists and engineers will continue to evaluate potential landing sites over the next three years before the best options are selected.
Determining factors include the need for a safe landing, ease of communication with the Earth, lighting conditions, and consideration of the technical capabilities of the Orion spacecraft and lander.
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