NASA High-Ups are in talks with the British Space Agency about launching missions to the moon and hint that astronauts from friendly nations could win a spot on the next landing.
The talks have raised hopes that the new missions could see a British astronaut on the moon and mark Britain as the second nation to ever land humans on the lunar surface, after the US in 1969.
Nasa bosses are currently involved London Discussing the Artemis missions, a program that aims to further explore the moon and land on its lunar south pole by 2025.
The first two Astronaughts to land in 2025 will likely be Americans, Nasa said, likely including the first woman and first man to walk on the lunar surface in more than 50 years.
British astronaut Tim Peake is the only British astronaut on the European Space Agency team. Nasa has said it is keen to get an astronaut on the moon who is part of ESA, particularly from a country that is helping to build the Lunar Gateway space station, which also includes the UK
Nasa executives are said to be in talks with the UK space agency over launching missions to the moon. The missions were able to see the first Britons on the moon
What are the Artemis Accords?
The Artemis Accords promises to return humans to the moon by 2025, but it also represents an attempt to prevent a space war.
The accords are the first pieces of legislation aimed at creating international law on space colonization that were drafted under the Trump administration.
Thirteen countries have signed the agreements, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada.
France and Saudi Arabia have more recently signed alongside Brazil, South Korea, Luxembourg and Poland – but other countries fear the deals represent the US trying to dictate the rules of space exploration.
China and Russia did not sign the accords, opting instead to develop their own lunar missions.
India and Germany also declined to sign.
The alliance is bringing into orbit questions for future industries, like asteroid mining and control of a burgeoning space tourism industry — limited for now to billionaires like Richard Branson and Jeff Bazos.
An asteroid located between Mars and Jupiter named 16 Psyche is composed entirely of nickel, iron and a massive gold core, with the asteroid’s estimated value being estimated at almost $10,000 trillion.
Whichever country controls the infrastructure around the moon will be more easily able to reap the benefits of a lucrative mining industry if it can be made cost-effective.
The United Nations Outer Space Treaty, signed by all major spacefaring nations in 1967, is still the backbone of international law in outer space – arguing that all nations have the right to explore beyond the Earth’s surface and that outer space is not the territory of one individual nation is.
Critics fear that the Artemis Accords threaten this principle and advocate a more pluralistic space treaty.
But after that, there could be a place for nations to help build the Lunar Gateway space station, designed to orbit the moon.
British companies are helping build the station, raising hopes the UK could be the second country to land boots on the moon.
The project also aims to put the first person of color on the moon, but it’s not clear what nationality they will be.
Nasa Administrator Pamela Melroy said, “I’m very confident that we will have an international partner because they are helping to build Gateway… but we haven’t finalized when they will surface.”
Japanese and Canadian space agencies have also partnered with NASA to help build the station, so competition for a spot on the moon could be fierce.
The Gateway station is scheduled to be built between the first and second manned landings, which are scheduled to take place from 2026 onwards.
NASA is looking forward to “bringing an ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut to our lunar surface,” it says The times.
There is currently only one British Astronaught on the ESA team – Tim Peake – but several other Brits have made it through to the final stages of the next generation of ESA Astronaught to be announced later this year.
Nasa bosses added that there were “other possibilities”. [for UK involvement] when the program comes to life’.
The first British instrument would fly to the moon this year on the Peregrine-1 lunar lander, which will deliver payloads into orbit and to the surface.
The Lunar Trailblazer, a spacecraft designed to detect and map water on the lunar surface to learn more about lunar water, will do the trick feature a thermal mapping instrument developed by the University of Oxford and funded by the UK Space Agency.
It will detect water molecules in the moon’s thin atmosphere as part of next year’s lunar surface mapping project.
An unmanned Artemis mission will launch in September, followed by two manned lunar orbit missions.
It is hoped that the Astronaughts will descend to the lunar surface in 2025.
Only seven British-born people, including Helen Sharman in 1991 and Peake in 2015, have gone into space.
The agreements come at a time of booming demand for rare earth metals, which are used in technical devices and are found in large quantities in space.
New lunar bases would allow nations to launch space exploration missions aimed at mining asteroids, which could theoretically more easily transport such materials back to Earth.
According to geopolitics author Tim Marshall, the Gateway space station is a key element in securing the future space industry for the US.
But China has also been drafting initial plans for a lunar base with Russia, raising the possibility that nations competing with the US for space exploration could smack their allies to the moon.
On January 3, 2019, China landed an unmanned spacecraft on the dark side of the moon, the first spacecraft in history to achieve such a landing in the uncharted territory, so named because it is never visible from Earth.
The Trump administration drafted the legal blueprint for lunar mining under the Artemis Accords. Britain was among the early signatories and has collaborated with the US on several of its space programs
The first British instrument would fly to the moon this year on the Peregrine-1 lunar lander, which will deliver payloads into orbit and to the surface