In the broadest terms, the goals of Artemis are to enable scientific discovery, open up new economic opportunities and inspire a new generation of scientists, technologists and leaders. 

By returning to the Moon, NASA aims to find water and other resources that will allow for long-term space exploration. Along the way, the agency expects to learn more about the Moon, Earth and the universe. Ultimately, establishing a presence on the Moon will give NASA and its partners the knowledge and operational confidence necessary to make it to Mars. 

Meanwhile, NASA’s mission should create new economic opportunities on Earth and beyond. There’s already a momentum behind a nascent space economy that, according to NASA leaders, could in 20 years take public and private missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO). NASA aims to stimulate the development of services and infrastructure on the lunar surface and in cislunar space. 

The space economy is already a $400 billion industry “and on the way to $1 trillion, and I suspect it’ll get there faster than we think,” said James Reuter, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA, earlier this year

As for inspiring the next generation, there’s definitely evidence that space exploration inspires young people to study science. This goal also explains why NASA is committed to sending the first woman and the first person of color to the Moon. 

“Our job at NASA is to do the things that are difficult, and to do the things that are right, and to motivate our base, which is our youth,” NASA’s chief astronaut Reid Wiseman recently said. “And right now our country is a diverse and extremely rich country… We want every kid in America to look at our poster and say, ‘Oh, I see myself in that… I can do that someday.”