“The biggest problem we have right now is we don’t know how to live and work productively off planet Earth,” says Clive Neal, an engineer at the University of Notre Dame and an expert in lunar exploration. “We have no clue.” We’ve never properly tested out the technologies we’d need to live and work in space for months or years on end, in harsh environments with much colder temperatures, much higher amounts of radiation, lower levels of gravity, and a lack of oxygen and water.
“But we’ve got our own lab in our backyard with which to try these things,” says Neal. He and many colleagues recently authored a new report released by Explore Mars, an advocacy group promoting sustainable space exploration. The report identifies dozens of activities and technologies critical to Mars exploration that can be developed and tested through Artemis and ongoing lunar exploration efforts.
Some things essential