For generations, the excitement over exploring space has prompted space travel. In 1969, the United States put the first man on the moon. Today, efforts are in progress to return humanity to the moon once again.
On April 28, guest speaker Camille Calibeo hosted “From Apollo to Artemis: Humanity’s Return to the Moon,” detailing how and why scientists are returning to moon exploration.
Calibeo, a major in aerospace engineering from the University of Tennessee, works at a company called Orbit Fab which is based in Lafayette, Colorado. “I work in the space industry,” Calibeo said. “I’m excited [for the] return to the moon.”
Calibeo manages the Instagram page @thegalacticgal where she shares important milestones made in the space industry.
“[I have a] science communication platform on social media, so I get to talk with people like you, engage with people all over the world and talk about space,” she said.
According to Calibeo, there is a lot that we do not know about the moon. Most of the surface is unexplored, and though satellites have found that the poles hold the most water, those regions have never been visited.
Many of the motivations of going to the moon include gathering resources — like lunar water — and establishing a base camp for a Mars expedition.
“Artemis is, as NASA calls it, humanity’s return to the moon. Space has always been dependent on politics. Constellation was largely American [supported]. We realized if we want sustainable, long term on the moon, we need the whole world to work together.
“[The moon is] good practice for settling Mars,” she said. The campaign slogan of Artemis is “Moon to Mars.”
While the moon is home to lunar dust, which is harmful when inhaled, the moon also holds many resources which can be used for Earth’s benefit. “Helium-3 is in abundance on the moon,” Calibeo said. “If it’s there in the quantities we think it is, and mine it, we can solve Earth’s energy demands for 10 thousand years.”
“The human aspect is very challenging. I think it’s our inability to refuel,” Calibeo said, referencing the most challenging part of going to the moon. “We refuel everything on earth, but satellites are the only [things] we don’t refuel. If something goes wrong, your mission is done. If you run out of fuel, your mission is done.”
Despite this, NASA still has its goal set on the moon, “We’re going to have people landing on the moon again in this decade. Artemis 1 will launch this year. Artemis 2 will be launching in two years. Artemis 1 is a simulator uncrewed – they don’t have life systems, seats for astronauts, screens – but Artemis 2 does,” she said. “[In] 2026, Artemis 3 is landing on the moon.”
Calibeo shared another goal of Artemis, “How many women have been to the moon? Zero. But we’re going to change that,” she said. NASA plans to use Artemis to land the first woman and first person of color on the moon’s surface.
Camille Calibeo can be found on Instagram @thegalacticgal. For more information on Artemis, visit NASA’s website here.