Nasa is about to make a major milestone in space exploration history: the first United States-led mission to land on the moon in almost four decades. On April 10, 2021, the space agency will send its second commercial mission to the moon – Artemis 1. This mission is carrying science experiments, engineering tests, and human remains onto the lunar surface.
The Artemis 1 mission marks the first mission to the moon in almost 40 years since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. The mission is part of the Artemis program which aims to land the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024.
The mission will be carried by a Falcon Heavy rocket, provided by Space-X, and the Orion Crew Capsule, provided by Boeing. The mission will be around three and a half weeks long and will launch from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. During the mission, the Falcon Heavy rocket will send the Orion Crew Capsule to Lunar Transfer Orbit. The capsule will then separate from the rocket and complete its journey to the moon to successfully orbit it.
The main purpose of the mission is to test the technologies and equipment that will be needed for future missions to the lunar surface and for possible long-term stay on the moon. In addition to this, the mission will also be carrying items of historical and scientific significance including human remains.
Nasa scientists will be sending the ashes of the first American man in space – Alan Shepard – on this mission as well as those of 24 other individuals including a former astronaut, an engineer, a congressional advocate, and a physicist. The remains will be placed in a special memorial plaque that will be attached to the Orion Crew Capsule.
This will be the first time human remains will be carried on a mission to space and to the moon. It is for this very reason that the mission has been named as “A Memorial to Human Achievement and Courage”.
The Artemis 1 mission is a major milestone for human space exploration and for Nasa as it represents progress that the United States was on the right path to making a long-term stay on the lunar surface. With this mission, the US is showing its commitment to space exploration, science, and the human spirit.