Bridenstine hints Artemis 3 could land near Apollo site [spacenews.com]
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine suggested Sept. 14 that NASA would be open to sending the first Artemis human landing mission to a location other than the south pole of the moon.
In remarks at an online meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG), Bridenstine said there could be benefits to sending a mission to the moon's equatorial regions instead, including the vicinity of an Apollo landing site.
"If you're going to go to the equatorial region again, how are you going to learn the most? You could argue that you'll learn the most by going to the places where we put gear in the past," he said, referring to the equipment left behind at the Apollo landing sites.
"There could be scientific discoveries there and, of course, just the inspiration of going back to an original Apollo site would be pretty amazing as well," he said. He also cited creating "norms of behavior" for protecting those sites from other expeditions.
NASA has been working toward returning humans to the moon at in the south polar regions, where deposits of water ice thought to exist there are both of scientific interest and may provide resources to support human exploration.