SCIENCE

Are the Artemis moon missions worth the cost?

Sep 1, 2022, 4:25 PM | Updated: 4:33 pm
artemis cost...
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - AUGUST 30: NASA's Artemis I rocket sits on launch pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Center on August 30, 2022 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Artemis I launch was scrubbed yesterday after an issue was found on one of the rocket's four engines. The next launch opportunity is on September 2. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — This week, NASA canceled the first launch attempt of the Artemis I moon mission. It was scheduled for Aug. 29, but at launch time the agency said it had trouble cooling down the four engines.

Another launch attempt is expected on Saturday, Sept. 3.

The question for some is the Artemis cost — is it worth it to spend billions of dollars to return to the moon?

For  University of Utah’s physics and astronomy professor Ben Bromley, the answer is clear.

“This is all about exploration,” Bromley told KSL NewsRadio hosts Dave and Dujanovic. “This is an amazing opportunity.”


 

NASA defines the opportunity as one that will help mankind understand our history, and, our future.

“Earth is part of a system of planets formed together from the same solar disc. By investigating other planets, we can interpret our collective history, and possibly envision the future,” NASA said on its webpage.

It may also be possible that the moon can tell us more about our own earthly home. According to NASA, there are parts of planet Earth, described as “ancient Earth” embedded in the moon (a conclusion based on a theory that the moon was formed after a planet collided with a young, molten Earth.)

“It’s who we are,” Bromley said. “To venture off into whatever universe we can gain access to, wherever we can go, we should and will do it.”

He continued.

“This is just one more example, in an incredible way, for us to learn about our cosmic neighborhood.”

First step the moon, next step Mars 

Another way to look at the Artemis I mission is as preparation for a trip to Mars.

“We need to prepare for it, and the Artemis program is doing exactly that preparation … The technology that’s involved with a project like this, a program like this, is incredible. There will be discoveries and spin-off industries that we can’t even imagine right now.”

“The things that we need to do to prepare to get to Mars will be to … set up a station where we can launch from. Launching from the moon, or launching from a platform there would be a wonderful step,” Bromley said.

If Artemis I launches on Saturday it will be the first of three scheduled launches, the third a mission which NASA said will land the first female astronaut and the first astronaut of color on the Moon.

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Are the Artemis moon missions worth the cost?