NASA is Finally Sending a Woman to the Moon. Here's All You Need to Know About the 2024 Mission
Image for representation.
At present, there were 12 active woman astronauts. They have since been joined by five other female NASA astronauts who graduated from training earlier this year, but it is still unclear who will join the Artemis III mission.
- Last Updated: September 23, 2020, 12:29 IST
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NASA on Monday revealed its latest plan to return astronauts to the Moon in 2024.
While the mission will be about a return to the moon something else stood out for being the first in history - NASA sending the first woman to land on the moon.
There are currently three different projects in competition to build the lunar lander that will carry two astronauts -- one of them a woman -- to the Moon from their vessel Orion.
The first one is being developed by Blue Origin, founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, in partnership with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper. The other two projects are being undertaken by Elon Musk's SpaceX and by the company Dynetics.
The first flight, Artemis I, scheduled for November of 2021, will be unmanned: the new giant rocket SLS, currently in its test phase, will take off for the first time with the Orion capsule.
Artemis II, in 2023, will take astronauts around the Moon but will not land.
Finally, Artemis III will be the equivalent of Apollo 11 in 1969, but the stay on the Moon will last longer -- for a week -- and will include two to five "extravehicular activities."
Artemis III - the one with the moon landing, will be humanity’s return to the surface of the Moon - landing the first astronauts on the lunar South Pole. After launching on SLS, astronauts will travel about 240,000 miles to lunar orbit aboard Orion, at which point they will directly board one of the new commercial human landing systems, or dock to the Gateway to inspect it and gather supplies before boarding the landing system for their expedition to the surface.
Wearing modern spacesuits that allow for greater flexibility and movement than those of their Apollo predecessors, astronauts will collect samples and conduct a range of science experiments over the course of nearly seven days. Using the lander, they will return to lunar orbit before ultimately heading home to Earth aboard Orion, said NASA in a press release.
At present, there were 12 active woman astronauts. They have since been joined by five other female NASA astronauts who graduated from training earlier this year. However, it remains unclear whether any of the newest astronauts can fulfil the criteria in time to fly on the first landing mission in 2024.
Asked about the timeline for choosing crew members for Artemis, the NASA chief told BBC he hoped to pick a team at least two years prior to the first mission.
However, he said: "I think it's important we start identifying the Artemis team earlier than not... primarily because I think it will serve as a source of inspiration."