Lazy eyes listen
The names of the four astronauts who will crew the Artemis II mission were announced by NASA on Monday. While the ten-day journey around the moon and back is tentatively scheduled for late 2024, the announcement comes just days after the White House released its proposed NASA budget.
The crew will include NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, pilot Victor Glover, mission specialist Christina Koch, and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Jeremy Hansen, who will also serve as a mission specialist.
“Among the crew is the first woman, first person of color, and first Canadian on a lunar mission,” said Vanessa Wyche, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
The minister in charge of the CSA, Francois-Philippe Champagne, described Hansen’s participation as “not only a defining chapter in our history in space, but also a testament to the friendship and close partnership between our two nations.”
The Artemis program, named after the Greek god’s female twin, was conceived during Trump’s presidency as a follow-up to the 1960s Apollo moon shot. Due to a lack of funding from Congress and a change in the White House, the original goal of putting US boots on lunar soil by 2025 has been pushed back. The Biden administration shifted its emphasis to diversity and inclusion, but persisted, citing a Chinese challenge.
Artemis I launched in December after several delays and successfully orbited the moon without a crew. Artemis II is designed to be a ten-day crewed “venture around the moon” similar to the 1968 Apollo 8 mission.
Artemis is more ambitious than the Apollo program, which was focused on reaching the moon. NASA intends to build a space station in lunar orbit that will serve as a transfer point for future missions, as well as a base in the southern polar region where water ice can be used to support human life and produce rocket fuel.
Much of the program’s technology is still being developed. Based on its Starship project, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is building the lander for the Artemis III mission. Boeing’s Starliner capsule, which is also intended for use in the program, has been delayed.