PROJECT ARTEMIS: NASA’S LUNAR BASE SCHEDULE
Many people sent the following articles to me this week. In fact, when I received these first two articles from B., it was like the beginning of a small leak in a dike which soon expanded into a flood. I can see why people sent them to me, because there's a hint of something going on that goes beyond mere weaponization or commercialization of space. I'm including both the articles that were sent by B (and many others), because there are "clues" all over the place. The first article is simply a copy of NASA's own publication outlining Project Artemis, its plan for renewed human space exploration, beginning with the establishment of a human base on the Moon:
One thing that emerges is that NASA is on a very aggressive schedule, according to this statement from page 15 of the NASA overview of Project Artemis:
Next year, science and technology will lead our return to the Moon as we see the first payloads delivered to the lunar surface aboard CLPS provider landers and 13 CubeSats deployed from the SLS during Artemis I—five of which will return lunar data. Human exploration under the Artemis program will begin with the crewed flight test of SLS and Orion on Artemis II in 2023. In this same time frame, NASA and its commercial HLS partners also plan to conduct in-space flight testing of the lander system, including potential tests to the lunar surface. NASA’s goal is to conduct in-space testing of every possible hardware, software, and operational system required for Artemis III prior to the mission in 2024.
The Zero Hedge article, however, points out the corporate "who's who" behind the effort, and it's a revealing list:
Contracts for the Human Landing System (HLS) have gone to Blue Origin, Dynetics (Leidos), and SpaceX. The HLS team includes Draper, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. Draper will provide avionics, guidance, navigation, and software. The Integrated Lander Vehicle will launch on United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan heavy-lift rocket. Maxar Technologies will develop the PPE. HALO is an initial crew cabin for astronauts visiting the Gateway and will likely be built by Northrop. Pressurized and unpressurized cargo, including space instruments and food, will be delivered by SpaceX.
The presence of Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman are obvious indicators that Project Artemis is about more than merely "exploration." But this shouldn't be surprising. The idea that the various space powers of Earth - Europe, India, China, Japan, and Russia - are talking about the commercial exploitation of space means that like it or not space will be both militarized and weaponized. The idea that any of these powers would commit serious assets to commercial exploitation without protecting them is ludicrous.
None of that really caught my eye.
What caught my eye, rather, was this:
Last week on 22 September, the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) signed a memorandum with the Department of Defense (DOD). The signers were NASA’s administrator, Jim Bridenstine, and the U.S. Space Force Chief of Operations General, John Raymond.
The signing of the memo took place in the broader context of NASA’s Artemis program. In December 2017, Donald Trump signed the Presidential Memorandum on Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program. It was an update of Obama’s space policy, adding that the U.S. will: “Lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities.”
NASA’s Artemis program oversees the U.S. mission to exploit the moon, including the construction of the Artemis Base Camp at the lunar South Pole, probably near the Shackleton Crater. This will serve as a forerunner to building a base on Mars. It “builds on a half-century of experience and preparation to establish a robust human-robotic presence on and around the Moon,” says NASA. Artemis includes a Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft. These operations will enable “U.S. commercial companies and international partners to further contribute to the exploration and development of the Moon.” (All emphases in the original)
The first thing that caught my eye was the intention to build a lunar base near the south pole. I can think of a lot of reasons for that, and two of them are that by all indications there may be water at the Moon's south pole in the form of subterranean(or perhaps I should said, subselenian) ice. Secondly, a base at the poles might be so positioned along the terminator as to allow control of temperature extremes that are experienced on the Moon between its daylight and night.
But the third thing about the South pole brought me back to that strange NASA mission called L-CROSS. Remember that one? NASA promised a real show "visible from Earth" when it planned to crash a satellite into the south pole and take spectrographic measurement from an orbiting satellite above. The sheer energy of the impact would be visible from Earth. Get your popcorn and watch the show.
Except the expected "big crash" was more like a "little thump" and nothing was visible from Earth and all that popcorn money was wasted. At the time, Mr. Richard C. Hoagland did an intriguing analysis of the L-CROSS impact on his website that suggested the impacter had actually penetrated into a hollow space underneath the impact site (See http://www.enterprisemissions.com/SmokingGun2.htm). Adding fuel to the high octane speculation was the odd fact that when one "crosses" four "L's" one gets a swastika. But I digress.
There is a fourth thing about this recently signed NASA-Department of Defense Memorandum, and it's this:
...the U.S. will: “Lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities.”
That phrase "bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities" can hide a multitude of objectives. One way to interpret that "new knowledge" that is "brought back to Earth" is of course the standard "science" explanation: we learn new things by exploring, and learning how to do things, not to mention bringing back all sorts of Moon rocks that excite the geophysicists with an interest in all things Selene. But the other way to interpret it is in the form of "extratrrestrial archaeology", of literal monuments, artifacts, and perhaps even archives, that perhaps can be catalogued and brought back to Earth. And if "someone" was once "there", then chances are that whatever they left behind might be very revealing along the lines of the television science fiction series Babylon Five's "technological advancement through archaeological exploration and acquisition."
And that, of course, would be well worth military protection.
All of which leaves one significant question: what are the "opportunities" being referred to?
See you on the flip side...
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