How NASA's Artemis program became a driving force for US economy

Millions of Americans watched the historic launch of the Artemis I SLS rocket last November. But many probably don’t know that all 50 states are contributing to the program with the lofty goals of building a base on the Moon and then Mars.

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A sky-high $14 billion is going to 3,000 industry partners. Some of that is led by NASA’s Barbara Brown, NASA’s director of exploration research and technology.

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“We are helping to lay the foundation for astronauts returning to the moon,” Brown said.

They plan on doing this by sending drilling and other testing technology ahead of the Artemis III mission.

Getting work done on water exploration, what resources are usable on the moon, and the impact of destructive moon dust on spacecraft and astronauts even before they step on the moon again.

“We hope that we have already figured out if there is ice just below the surface. We hope that we have figured out how to characterize what happens when a lander lands on the surface. What happens with the plum that is kicked up,” Brown said.

Some of the technology for that advanced team of robots is developed at the labs in Swap Works at the Kennedy Space Center.

Once astronauts do land on the moon, they will be laser-focused on the science and how to make a habitat and base for humans. The hope is that all this technology will have already built a base of knowledge for that work.

NASA is hoping that the first of those robot advance teams will blast off later this year using commercial launch lifts, like ULA and SpaceX.

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