NASA has unveiled the calendar for the “Artemis” program that will return astronauts to the Moon for the first time in half a century, including eight scheduled launches and a mini-station in lunar orbit by 2024. The mission was named Artemis after the Greek mythological goddess of the Moon and twin sister to Apollo, namesake of the program that sent 12 American astronauts to the Moon between 1969 and 1972.
- Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed mission around the Moon planned for 2020.
- Next will come Artemis 2, which will orbit Earth’s satellite with a crew around 2022; followed finally by Artemis 3 that will put astronauts on lunar soil in 2024, including the first woman.
- The three will be launched into space by the biggest rocket of all time, the Boeing-led Space Launch System (SLS), which is currently under development but has seen numerous delays and has been criticized in some quarters as a bloated jobs program.
NASA’s next mission to the Moon will be called Artemis. ARTEMIS stands for Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of Moon’s Interaction with the Sun. It consists of spacecraft to measure what happens when the Sun’s radiation hits our rocky moon, where there is no magnetic field to protect it.