WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — NASA will try again tomorrow to launch Artemis I, their newest rocket to send an unmanned spacecraft on a six-week-long trip to the moon.
The mission will be a dry run for when NASA eventually sends astronauts back to the moon for the first time in 50 years.
The rocket was due to launch on Monday, but problems with the rocket’s main engines force NASA to scrub the launch with their next available window to launch opening up today.
Dr. Michelle Thompson, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University, is a former NASA employee and says that the return of moon missions for the United States is an important step forward.
“This is an opportunity to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and astronauts,” she told WISH-TV. “We’re putting (astronauts) in these new, really challenging unique environments on the moon that we’ve never been to before. We’re going to learn so much about the evolution and history of the moon through these missions.”
But how does all of that affect you personally? Dr. Thompson said that during the previous moon missions in the late 60s and early 70s, so much new technology was developed that you now use in your everyday life.
“Many of the things we rely on today, like GPS and using Google Maps to get to your location, those came out of the Apollo program,” Thompson said.
She said similar things would happen with the Artemis program and that the possibility of what will be developed with these missions is endless.
Furthermore, she said the fact that the program will see the first woman and person of color on the moon is even more paramount.
“It’s kind of hard to overstate how important that representation is to the next generation of scientists that are going to be growing up with this program,” she said.
The goal for NASA is to get Artemis I off the ground by 2:17 p.m. EDT on Saturday. NASA said on Thursday that the launch is “go” for Saturday even though there is no guarantee that the launch will happen due to weather and other factors that may arise.
NASA said the engine issues on Tuesday could not be troubleshot before the launch, but upon further analysis in the subsequent days, the issue was a faulty temperature sensor in the main engine that gave them a false reading during engine bleeding to prime the engines for launch.