Nasa’s moon mission to lay groundwork for permanent base
Nasa’s Artemis programme aims to put the first woman and first person of colour on the moon in 2025
When Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon in 1969, the Hartebeesthoek Earth Station west of Pretoria kept Nasa in touch with him at Tranquility Base — and now SA is preparing to do the same with a new tracking facility for America’s dramatic return to the moon for the first time in 50 years.
At Hartebeesthoek, gardener Sammy Tshefu of Soweto once weeded the lawns under the facility’s large radio dishes. Intrigued by their arcane functions, he asked to learn more and by 2009, in a quintessential SA success story, he had shed his overalls for a lab coat and was running a Nasa laser rangefinder at the centre which was plotting potential new landing sites on the moon...
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