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The Artemis project was the Mariner Space Development spaceflight effort which landed the first humans on Earth's Moon since the end of the NASA's Apollo program in the early 1970s. Conceived as an international effort to develop the moon over the next twenty years, and conducted jointly with the world's state sponsored space administrations, Artemis began in earnest in early 2018 when the MSD lander, Artemis 1 launched from the mining station Coloma and landed the first survey team on the moon two days later.
The Artemis 1 mission on February 11, 2018 carried five astronauts to the Sea of Tranquility, just ten kilometers from the Apollo 11 landing site, and established the first landing site for additional missions. Five subsequent Artemis missions that landed astronauts on the moon established Tranquility Base, the first permanent settlement on the lunar surface. An additional 195 missions under the "Artemis" monicer landed additional components to develop twenty-eight other large outposts on the lunar surface, however countless independent missions to these facilities occurred during this period that ultimately developed these outposts into full lunar colonies.
The Artemis project ran from 2018 until 2034, and was the world's second human oriented lunar program. It used Artemis spacecraft and the MSD "Titan" Lunar Shuttle, which replaced the small Artemis lander in 2025. These spacecraft were used for a number of non-Artemis oriented missions, however are collectively associated with the Artemis project.
Artemis set major milestones in human spaceflight. It was the first time humans had successfully sent manned missions to establish permanent settlements on another celestial body, and produced a large amount of usable data on the long term effects of space travel in humans that was essential to further missions and settlements. The project spurred advances in many areas of technology incidental to propulsion and manned spaceflight, including avionics, telecommunications, and radiation shielding. Artemis also sparked interest in many fields of engineering and left many physical facilities and machines developed for the program as landmarks. Its first landers and other objects and artifacts are displayed throughout the world, notably in the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museums in Washington, DC and at the Tranquility Spaceflight Museum on the moon itself.
The decision to abandon the lunar orbit rendezvous pioneered by the Apollo program in favor of an indirect launch from Earth orbiting asteroid facilities, dictated the basic design of the original Artemis spacecraft. Unlike previous spacecraft, it was constructed in assembly facilities on MSD mining outposts from components launched from Earth. The craft was completely self contained, and built to house as many as twenty astronauts, however most missions involved using the majority of the craft for storage space, with a crew of five to ten astronauts. Utilizing basic hybrid-rocket technologies, the craft would launch from the lunar surface from any number of asteroid stations, capable of flying either manned or unmanned, and would land on the lunar surface a day later, at most, for what was typically a two month mission on the surface, however some crew members would stay for as long as two years. These craft were roughly 20 meters in length, and had an internal volume of 500 cubic meters.
Titan Lunar Shuttle
In 2025, the Artemis Lander was retired in favor of Mariner's newly developed workhorse the Titan Lunar Shuttle, a massive spacecraft designed to launch either from Earth or one of the company's now countless orbital stations, and ferry astronauts and supplies to and from the lunar surface. With an internal volume of close to 6000 cubic meters, it was the largest spacecraft ever built, and rapidly accelerated the development of the lunar outposts into full fledged colonies. Many engineers consider the Titan indispensable to the construction of the facilities that not only made the Moon a home-away-from-home for humanity, but also an independent outpost for economic sustainability
Facilities and Outposts
A number of lunar outposts were constructed initially under Artemis that eventually flowered into independent colonies, as well as the economic, and infrastructure facilities that spurred early sustained colonization.
- Tranquility Base (Sea of Tranquility)
- Cognitum Base (Ocean of Stroms)
- Lovell Station (Fra Mauro)
- Hadley Base (Hadley Rill)
- Young Station (Descartes Highlands)
- Cernan Base (Taurus-Littrow)
- Plato Station (Montes Alpes)
- Aiteken Station (Lunar South Pole)
These first bases became the primary facilities in their respective regions for a number of years, and utlimately formed the seeds for today's lunar cities. Tranquility Base was the first to create a large scale network of farms supplying colonists with a steady supply of food. Young Station was the first to dig out a large atrium that became the first "Lunar Forest."
- Tsiolkovsky Lunar Observatory (Sea of Muscovy)
- Aldrin Research Station (Sea of Tranquility)
- Jules Verne Mass Driver (Plato Crater)