Engineers design spacecraft to take humans to moon and beyond

Astronaut Robert L. Curbeam mission specialist participates in the second of three STS-98 sessions of extravehicular activity

Astronaut Robert L. Curbeam mission specialist participates in the second of three STS-98 sessions of extravehicular activity

The massive lander is a single-stage reusable system capable of accommodating a crew of four and 2,000 pounds of cargo on the surface of the Moon for up to two weeks.

Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos' space venture, Blue Origin, has signed a letter of intent to cooperate with Germany's OHB Group and MT Aerospace on a future mission to the moon that'll use Blue Origin's Blue Moon lunar lander.

"NASA called on the industry for new and innovative approaches to advance America's goal of bringing humans back to the moon and establishing a sustainable and enduring presence there", stated Lisa Callahan, the vice president and general manager of Commercial Civil Space at Lockheed Martin. "This is a concept that takes full advantage of both the Gateway and existing technologies to create a versatile, powerful lander that can be built quickly and affordably".

Deep space travel, such as a journey to Mars, can significantly damage the gastrointestinal (GI) tissue of astronauts, and raise the risk of stomach and colon tumours, according to scientists including one of Indian origin.

In addition, NASA's lunar robotic spacecraft LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) launched 9 years ago and orbiting the moon, will try to photograph the Israeli spacecraft as it lands on the moon.

It would however need to be refueled between missions, potentially using water from the Moon's surface.

Crewed Lunar Lander Concept from Lockheed Martin Space on Vimeo.

In August, researchers found frozen water on the Moon for the first time.

"I'm thrilled to extend progress in commercial cooperation we've made in low-Earth orbit to the lunar environment with this new agreement with the Israel Space Agency and SpaceIL", said Bridenstine.

The NASA's Gateway project provides global lunar access for a Moon lander. In an August speech, Vice President Mike Pence made clear that returning to the Moon is a top priority for the US, an objective previously put forth by the Trump administration.

"The next logical step in this path is a return to the Moon", the company said in a statement. Similarly to the current moon exploration plan, NASA would like to ultimately deploy a space station to Mars' orbit.

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