News: NASA has finalised the contract for the initial crew module called habitation and logistics(HALO) support for Gateway lunar orbiting outpost.
- HALO: It refers to the pressurised living quarters where astronauts will spend their time while visiting the Gateway lunar orbiting outpost.
- Gateway Lunar Orbit outpost: It is a small spaceship that will orbit around the Moon meant for astronaut missions to the Moon and later for expeditions to Mars.
- Purpose: It will act as a temporary office for astronauts by providing living quarters for astronauts, a lab for science and research, ports for visiting spacecraft among others.
- The unique feature of the Gateway is that it can be moved to other orbits around the Moon to conduct more research.
- Developed by: It is led by NASA in collaboration with commercial and international partners: Canada (CSA), Europe (ESA), and Japan (JAXA).
- Significance: It is expected to play a major role in NASA’s Artemis program after 2024.
- Artemis program: It is a NASA’s mission that aims to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon by 2024.