Space enthusiasts, mark your calendars! NASA is set to announce the selection of the crew who will travel around the moon and back.
The mission is called Artemis II, the sequel to the Artemis I mission, carried out Fall 2022. The four selected astronauts will be the first to fly into space on NASA’s new Orion spacecraft, launched with the new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.
The selected astronauts will be announced April 3rd and you’ll have the opportunity to watch the announcement live.
What is the Artemis II mission?
In the first crewed test flight to the moon since the Apollo missions, the 10-day trip will test the new rocket system and mark a pivot in space exploration. According to NASA, the ultimate goal is to establish a “long-term scientific and human presence on the lunar surface.”
NASA says the flight will serve as a test of the Orion space craft, gauging out the life support systems function under the stress of having humans onboard. Once a certain point in the journey is reached, the astronauts will remove their protective suits and wear regular clothes as they begin running tests on all the system.
They will ensure the spacecraft is properly removing carbon dioxide and generating breathable air and ensure water vapor produced by humans is removed.
The astronauts will also be practicing emergency procedures, testing the communications equipment and testing the radiation shelter.
All of the tests are intended to pave the way for the Artemis III mission, resulting in the next lunar landing by NASA astronauts.
Who will the astronauts be and how can you watch the announcement?
Three of the selected astronauts will be NASA astronauts and one will be a Canadian Space Agency astronaut for the Artemis II Mission. NASA says they’re committed to partnering with foreign space agencies as part of the Artemis missions and will likely include astronauts from other countries in many missions.
The chosen astronauts will travel further from the Earth than any astronauts before them. They will get to see the Earth from the vantage point of the Moon and will also travel around the Moon, deeper into space than any human before, seeing the dark side of the Moon.
Success in the mission sets the groundwork for the Artemis III mission which NASA says will result in the first woman and first person of color to step foot on the moon.
Multiple reports say the target launch of the Artemis II mission is November 2024. That date will be subject to change based on certain weather and atmospheric conditions at the time. Either way, the selected astronauts will have more than a year and a half to train for the mission.
The announcement of the chosen astronauts will take place at 11 a.m. EDT on Monday, April 3. The event will stream live on NASA Television, the NASA App, and will also be broadcast live on the NASA Live livestream website.