NASA has announced the four astronauts who will be part of the historic Artemis 2 mission to the moon in November 2024.
The mission is the second of three planned missions to test hardware, software, and ground systems that will help establish a lunar base and transport humans to Mars.
The crew, Reid Wiseman, Christina Hammock Koch, Victor Glover, and Jeremy Hansen, will embark on a 10-day journey to the moon and back strapped to the world’s most powerful rocket.
Wiseman, the mission’s commander, is a United States Navy captain who spent 165 days in orbit aboard the International Space Station in 2014.
Glover, the mission’s pilot, piloted SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule to the ISS in 2020 and was the first Black man to be a crew member on the station. Hammock Koch, a mission specialist, holds the record for the longest stay by a woman in space and completed the first all-woman spacewalk in 2019.
Hansen, also a mission specialist, will go to space for the first time with the mission.
Artemis 2’s journey will be slightly shorter than its predecessor’s, taking the crew on a maximum 10-day voyage beyond the moon and back.
The exact distance they will travel away from Earth has yet to be confirmed, but it could take the astronauts farther from Earth than any human has ever gone before.
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After slingshotting around the moon, Artemis 2’s Orion capsule will hurtle through Earth’s atmosphere at red-hot temperatures before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.
During the mission, the crew will test all of Orion’s systems to see how it maneuvers in space.
If everything looks good, they will head for the moon, making a four-day journey covering a quarter of a million miles.
After going around the far side of the Moon, the crew will head back to Earth and go through the Earth’s atmosphere at over 25,000 miles per hour before splashing down in the Pacific.
The Artemis generation is excited about this mission, which marks a new era of exploration, according to NASA administrator Bill Nelson. Artemis 3, scheduled for 2025 or 2026, will send the first woman and the first person of color to land on the lunar south pole.
NASA is committed to establishing a permanent lunar base and eventually sending humans to Mars.