“Ignition, Artemis III, you are go for undocking.” The mission started, my spine sending shivers down my back, yet my hands steady from all the training back on Earth. Slowly guiding the Lunar Lander away and seeing Gateway slip into darkness, I throttled up to quench our velocity for landing.
The first time since 1972, there we were, on the Moon, at the edge of Shackleton Crater. Chris, Kate, and I opened the hatch, reminding us so much of the days in the military. Chris was the lead astrobiologist, Kate, the lead geologist, and I, the flight commander. We had lived together in the most challenging conditions and knew that hard work was the only path to success.
With our footprints on the moon, we set off into the darkness, looking for what is essential to life, water. At the bottom of the crater, Chris and Kate found a place that looked promising for traces of water molecules. Drilling into the soft regolith and periodically testing for any levels of moisture, we were slowly losing hope. However, if there is anything the three of us learned from the strenuous training back on Earth, it is to never quit. After days of work, Kate found a few water molecules in a solid state, and before our time came to return home, we still had one more task to complete.
We carried the lunar rover out onto the surface and watched as it crawled away into the unknown, collecting regolith and creating a home for protection against the sun’s harmful radiation. Along the rover came a device, which worked to use newly discovered water molecules to release oxygen gas and hydrogen fuel. We blasted off the moon and waited to see the fruits of our labor from future generations.