NASA is mulling over a plan that would put a deep-space station on the moon’s far side. NASA is considering a plan, which would place astronauts at an Earth-Moon liberation point to help forward the agency’s goal of pushing beyond low-Earth orbit with its Orion spacecraft design. Placing astronauts and an orbiting station at the Earth-Moon L2 Gateway has many benefits according to supporters of the plan.
One big benefit of this orbiting platform in the moon’s far side would be a boost in multinational cooperation that has worked well with the International Space Station. A plan to use Russian-supplied hardware at the L2 point is under review currently reports Space.com. Insiders say that the plan is also considering surplus space shuttle hardware and ISS-flight ready spares for the space station.
The Russian hardware being considered is said to be similar to the Russian ISS modules currently being developed including the Multipurpose Laboratory Module in the Scientific-Power Module. The hardware placed on the far side of the moon would be used as a base of operations for exploration missions. NASA believes that by exploring and working beyond Earth’s protective radiation belts more can be learned about space radiation protection.
Protecting astronauts from space radiation is a critical and key component of sending astronauts to Mars or any other deep-space mission. The Earth-Moon liberation point 2 is also known as EML-2, and is a location where gravity allows a ship to “park” in a stationary location. Earlier this year NASA associate administrator William Gerstenmaier wrote a memo that noted NASA would form a team to develop a cohesive plan to exploring placing a spacecraft at the EML-2 location.