The names of the four astronauts – three Americans and one Canadian – who will orbit the Moon next year will be announced today. The NASA mission, Artemis II, is scheduled for November 2024 and is the premise for the return of man to the lunar surface for the first time in half a century.
The Artemis mission
As part of the Artemis program, NASA aims to send astronauts to the moon in 2025, five decades after the historic Apollo missions ended in 1972. The US space agency hopes to establish a lasting human presence on the lunar surface and eventually launch a trip to mars. NASA administrator Bill Nelson said in recent days that he expected a manned mission to Mars by the year 2040.
The four crew members of Artemis II will be announced at an event at 5 p.m. Eastern time at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Only 12 people have set foot on the moon so far.
The 10-day Artemis II mission will test NASA’s powerful Space Launch System rocket and life support systems aboard the Orion spacecraft. The first Artemis mission ended in December when the uncrewed Orion capsule returned to Earth after a 25-day trip around the Moon. During its journey around the Earth’s satellite and back, Orion was furthest away from Earth by any previous habitable spacecraft.