Gateway Lunar Orbiting Outpost
NASA recently finalised the contract for the initial crew module of the agency’s Gateway lunar orbiting outpost.
- NASA has described the Gateway as key to the new era of lunar explorations both in the orbit and on the surface of the Moon.
- One of the most unique features of the Gateway is that it can be moved to other orbits around the Moon to conduct more research.
- The Gateway is being built by both international and commercial partners and will support exploration on and near the Moon and later to Mars as well.
What is the Gateway Lunar Orbit outpost?
- Essentially, the Gateway is a small spaceship that will orbit the Moon, meant for astronaut missions to the Moon and later, for expeditions to Mars.
- It will act as a temporary office and living quarters for astronauts, distanced at about 250,000 miles from Earth. The spaceship will have living quarters, laboratories for science and research and docking ports for visiting spacecraft.
- Further, astronauts will use the Gateway at least once per year and not stay around the year like they do on the International Space Station (ISS).
- Compared to the ISS, the Gateway is much smaller (the size of a studio apartment), while the ISS is about the size of a six-bedroom house.
- Once docked to the Gateway, astronauts will be able to stay there for three months at a time, conduct science experiments and take trips to the surface of the Moon.