The acceleration of the US-led ARTEMIS programme and (probably intention of China or India) for establishing a permanent habitat on the Moon (lunar gateway, lunar ground base…), generates many initiatives accompanying this mission ( launch of lunar microsats, launch of mini landers, orbital support infrastructure for telecommunications, navigation, deployment of scientific experiments,…). In the mid- term an important logistics, with lots of launches, will be necessary to maintain the human presence on the surface and around the Moon.
All these activities are preparing a future human exploration of Mars by far more complex.
This initiative raises some questions on environment consequences, today not explicitly explained:
- How to minimise and manage the waste generated by the lunar gateway and on the moon, what will be the waste management system for human and robotic installations. What are the technologies, rules and programmatic to be developed for that?
- Will there be proliferation of spatial debris around the moon, with the specific behaviour of orbits around the moon, how to control the traffic and avoid collisions or uncontrolled crashes on the moon that could hit installations?
- Will there be important mining areas for water or mineral extraction to sustain permanent life on the moon surface? Building of large power plants to generate the necessary energy for permanent team on moon ground?
- What dust clouds will be generated by mining and traffic activities and what consequence on the lunar landscape or atmosphere?
- Spread of biologic spores could be also a problem.
- What will be the impact of the important logistic traffic on Earth environment, (Linked with scenarios, volumes, and launches)?
Among these risks and problems, two are dominating in the building of these programmes: waste management, and orbit debris and traffic management around the moon.
The purpose of this specific session is to invite experts to exchange with public on these 2 major problems.