The ARTEMIS program was launched by NASA with the intention of sending astronauts back to the Moon and establishing a permanent presence there. The ARTEMIS missions will pave the way for the next big step—the launch of the first humans to Mars—by utilizing the Moon.
Unlike the Apollo missions, ARTEMIS missions are targeting the Lunar south pole because of the Points of Interest such as the presence of water ice in the Permanently Shadowed Regions (PSR) in the craters, Peaks of Eternal Light (PEL) with high solar illumination, and constant contact with Earth. On the lunar surface, a crew can travel two kilometers on foot, ten kilometers in an unpressurized rover, and twelve kilometers in a pressurized rover from the Human Landing System (HLS). Security reasons dictate these distances, enabling the crew to return to the HLS in an emergency. There is a clear gap between the points of interest and the safe landing spots identified in the frame of the ARTEMIS program.
- IAC, Dubai in November 2021
- Abu Dhabi University, Abu Dhabi in February 2022
- YSOT at CEA, Grenoble, France in April 2022
- AEROSUD, Istres, France in June 2022
- ESA Rover Challenge, Luxembourg in September 2022
- EAC, Koln in October 2022
- Yggdrasill Festival, Lyon, France in February 2023
A Secondary Habitat such as EUROHAB will close the gap between the safe landing spots and the points of interest. EUROHAB is an inflatable, deployable habitat delivered as a payload of a robotic Lander (such as the ESA Argonaut) to the surface of the Moon. If placed strategically on the Lunar surface, EUROHAB not only will act as an outpost or a base camp to extend the range of exploration but also as a safe haven in case of off-nominal scenarios where the crew needs to take refuge. Additionally, EUROHAB can also serve as a teleoperated science station with experiments running autonomously, a storage place that can be utilized by the next missions, and assist Lunar surface assets like a rover for lunar night survival. Ultimately, a web of EUROHABs can be utilized to cover and connect all the settlements and the In-Sit Resource Utilization activities on the South Pole of the Moon.
The first full-scale prototype was developed in 2021 that was exhibited at International Astronautical Congress in Dubai and was utilized for some simulations like the desert trails in Abu Dhabi in 2022 and at the ESA Rover Challenge in Luxembourg in 2022. A second full-scale functional breadboard is under development that will be used as a technology testbed and for analogue simulations.