Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - 16

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A Turning Point in
Space Exploration
As advancements in space exploration continue, more
funding will not only help achieve scientific goals but also
inspire the next generation of leaders in STEM, just as it did
during the 1960s.
I
t's been a landmark year for space exploration.
The James Webb Space Telescope arrived
at its destination orbiting the L2 Lagrange
Point in January. In late April, an all-private
team of astronauts visited the International Space
Station for the first time. And later this year, NASA's
Artemis I program will send an uncrewed
Orion spacecraft to orbit the Moon, in preparation
for landing humans on the lunar surface
within the next few years.
Yet there are still many challenges to the United
States' ambitions for space exploration. Current
NASA funding levels are inadequate for achieving
our longstanding scientific
goals and assuring U.S. leadership
in space exploration.
Unless the United States increases
its funding commitment,
we could fail to reach
our goals for 21st
-century
deep space exploration -
from lunar missions in the
last half of this decade, to
missions to Mars in the
2030s.
None of that is to downplay
today's achievements. Take
the Orion spacecraft. Built by
Lockheed Martin, the Orion is equipped with the
most advanced human life-support systems ever designed
- from an exercise machine and food rehydrator
to a protective shield against the cosmic radiation
of deep space.
Artemis I will be the first in a series of planned
flights by NASA's Space Launch System. Its third
mission, Artemis III, will put people back on the
Moon for the first time since 1972 - among them
the first woman and the first person of color. On
16
the Moon, astronauts will research how the human
body responds to low-gravity and high-radiation environments.
They will also develop new technologies
that could help humans survive beyond Earth,
including systems that could turn lunar ice into
drinking water, oxygen and rocket propellants.
Our new lunar exploration efforts will serve as
preparation for a bigger, more distant venture -
the first human mission to Mars.
" As we advance human
space exploration,
robotic systems also
have the potential
to yield astonishing
discoveries. "
Low-Earth Orbit Economy
Closer to home, and in the here and now, the International
Space Station (ISS) is serving as the hub of
what some call the " low-Earth
orbit economy, " a growing
network of commercial enterprises
that will profoundly influence
the evolution of aerospace.
Already,
Boeing supports
NASA's operations and resupply
of the ISS. SpaceX
and Boeing fly astronauts
there and back, and multiple
companies have delivered
cargo. Now, private companies
including Blue Origin,
Lockheed Martin, Northrop
Grumman, and Axiom Space are vying - and in
some cases, cooperating - to develop space stations
that could complement or add to the capabilities of
the 22-year-old ISS. NASA has budgeted up to $400
million to launch one or more of these projects.
As we advance human space exploration, robotic
systems also have the potential to yield astonishing
discoveries. The Webb Telescope, developed by a
team led by Northrop Grumman, will allow us to
search our universe for habitable planets and galaxwww.techbriefs.com
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Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022

Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Intro
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Sponsor
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Cov2
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - 1
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Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - 43
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