In November, NASA's Artemis 1 mission successfully flew around the moon, showing the world that humans are on their way back.
The European Space Agency and NASA want to establish a permanent base on the moon by the year 2025. China and Russia are working together to establish a lunar base.
There is no way to find out where we are. In deep space, astronauts can't navigate on their own, and every mission requires trained engineers to direct the flights from the ground.
It will become unsustainable with missions moving back and forth.
Satellite navigation is being put on rockets that will travel 239,000 miles between Earth and the moon. A new navigation network around the moon is also being planned. This is how.
It is the only way to get from point A to point B in space today.
The only point of reference for the spaceship is the Earth. There are massive blind spots when it comes to pinging a signal back to the Earth.
When the Artemis 1 mission went behind the moon, NASA completely lost contact with the craft. For a few minutes, all the engineers were able to do was hold their breath and hope that the spaceship wouldn't break apart.
Javier Ventura-Traveset is the chief engineer of the Galileo navigation science office of the European Space Agency. Galileo is the European version of the global positioning system.
A way to triangulate their position from space is what space exploration needs now.
The cheapest way to bring satnav to space is to use the satellites around the Earth.
There are a number of issues with this approach. Satellites point towards the Earth.
Most of the satellites signal is blocked and a small amount spills over. The bit that spills over is not as strong as the main signal.
It would seem impossible to use this signal to navigate to the moon. Engineers have been developing sensitive detectors for decades.
Four satellites were able to determine their position using signals from the Earth'sGPS satellites.
It was about halfway to the moon.
On the other half of the journey, that signal will be detected. Ventura- Traveset is positive.
NASA and the European Space Agency are preparing to test their detectors on future moon missions.
In the year 2075 or in the year 2086, the ESA's receiver is due to be launched. The position of the satellite should be determined with a precision of about 60 meters.
The hope is that the satellite will be able to navigate itself around the moon. It's lightweight and can replace a lot of heavier equipment on a spaceship.
The Italian Space Agency collaborated with NASA on the development of detectors. The first of these receptors will be launched to the surface of the moon in 24 years.
James Joseph "JJ" Miller, deputy director for Policy and Strategic Communications within the Space Communications and navigation Program at NASA Headquarters, told Insider that there is a "friendly competitive race" between NASA and the European Space Agency.
Many countries are interested in investing in deep-space navigation technology.
"Everyone has come to understand that this is an emerging user that is not going away, that we have to prepare and make the cis-lunar space, all the space between the Earth and the moon, as robust and reliable as possible with these signals."
The signal from Earth's satellites won't be very useful once they reach the moon.
The dark side of the moon and moon poles can't be seen from the Earth at that point.
The plan is to give the moon its own fleet of satellites. NASA's satellite would be the first one in the game.
The basic infrastructure of Moonlight will be tested by 2027, and a more complete infrastructure by 2030.
The LunaNet network is being built by NASA. The agency wants to send a space station to the moon.
NASA's Miller said that they would imagine a kind of architecture that included both NASA and the European Space Agency.
Humans are going to return to the moon. It would take a long time for moon settlers to set up camp so they can mine for minerals and water.
Ventura-Traveset said that moon visitors will need to communicate with Earth and be entertained.
In the future, moon settlers could have access to high-speed internet, video-conference with loved ones on Earth, stream shows, and create their own content from space.
Ventura- Traveset doesn't think anyone would argue that that's not the way we're going to go.