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NASA is in the process of constructing the Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway, a space station that will be orbiting around the Moon.

In the next half decade, the space agency aims to launch the lunar outpost and extend the presence of the human race into deep space. The project is expected to enable scientific and commercial activities on the moon.

The first piece of the Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway — the power and propulsion — is scheduled to lift off in 2022.

Similar to the International Space Station, the lunar outpost will regularly host astronauts onboard to conduct studies about deep space, control rovers from orbit, or even land on the surface of the Moon. However, the 1,942 cubic feet (33 cubic meters) outpost can only accommodate up to four people, living and working around the Moon for 30 to 60 days at a time.

The space agency also said that the lunar outpost will not solely be hosting a U.S. crew; it will be open to anyone conducting research. Because the cost of sending people to the Moon via NASA's Space Launch System or SLS will be expensive, the space agency expects the outpost to be empty for most of the year.

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Category: Science