International space fleet prepares mass moon landing in 2024: what's known about it
For 2024, the world's space agencies have planned more than 10 missions aimed at the Earth's satellite, the Moon. Orbital and descent vehicles, lunar rovers, and even manned spacecraft should pave the way for future research.
The details were reported by NewScientist. A Japanese vehicle may be the first to land on the Moon in 2024.
"This is the year of the Moon. The number of missions to the Moon in 2024 is a reflection and realization of the momentum of the last five years. It's a big global push," said Bethany Ehlmann of the California Institute of Technology.
It all starts in January when the Japanese Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) is scheduled to land. This is the first lunar vehicle in the country's history.
In the same month, a lunar vehicle developed by the American company Intuitive Machines will be launched. This mission is part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. The space agency is funding commercial flights to the moon to facilitate future research and establish partnerships with industry.
As part of this initiative, if all goes according to plan, in 2024, various vehicles will explore and attempt to extract ice on the Moon, as well as test technologies developed for future missions. Various methods of dealing with sticky lunar dust will also be tested.
One of these missions, called Cooperative Autonomous Distributed Robotic Exploration (CADRE), will involve the landing of three lunar rovers and a base station on the Moon. There, they will autonomously take measurements at different locations on the satellite's surface, fulfilling the overall mission plan. If this system, where different vehicles perform parts of the same task, works, it could significantly increase the productivity of robots in future missions.
To support the lunar landers, their partners will also appear in the lunar orbit.
For example, the Lunar Trailblazer orbiter (CLPS program) will be especially important for future lunar explorers who will need to extract water from the lunar ice. It will create detailed maps that will help lunar explorers know exactly where to go to find water on the satellite's surface.
Canada, Germany, and Singapore also intend to send orbiters in 2024. The Finnish company Nokia, known for producing mobile phones and other electronics, also plans to get to the Moon. The Finns will send their own lunar rover to the Earth's satellite.
China also intends to launch the Chang'e-6 mission in May 2024, which will return the world's first samples from the far side of the Moon.
NASA's Artemis II mission is also scheduled for November 2024, during which four astronauts will fly near the Moon and return.
Two important flights of SpaceX's Starship are also planned for the end of 2024: an unmanned lunar landing and the dearMoon flight, which will take space tourists on a trip around the Moon.
All these missions are a step towards future human exploration of the Moon.
Earlier, OBOZ.UA explained why all countries are so eager to land on the south pole of the Moon.