The next NASA astronauts to visit the moon were revealed on Monday as the agency prepares for the next stage of its mission to establish a long-term presence there, potentially providing a springboard for Mars missions.
Three NASA astronauts and a Canadian astronaut will be the crew for Artemis 2, a mission that will see them slingshot around the moon in a flight test of NASA’s new Orion spacecraft, according to a press release.
The astronauts are:
- Commander Reid Wiseman of NASA
- Pilot Victor Glover of NASA
- Mission Specialist 1 Christina Hammock Koch of NASA
- Mission Specialist 2 Jeremy Hansen of the Canadian Space Agency
Planned for a launch in November 2024, the approximately 10-day mission is set to be the first time humans have traveled past low Earth orbit since Apollo 17 in 1972.
“This is humanity’s crew,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stated. “Together, we are ushering in a new era of exploration for a new generation of star sailors and dreamers – the Artemis Generation.”
Artemis 2 will be the first manned test of the partially reusable, Lockheed Martin-built Orion spacecraft, which successfully completed an unmanned lunar flyby in December during the Artemis 1 mission. The mission is set to be the second spaceflight for all three NASA astronauts, and the first for Canada’s Hansen, according to the press release.
Beginning with Artemis 3, NASA plans “a regular cadence of Artemis missions with crew on and around the moon,” according to the program’s website. The ultimate goal is to establish a “long-term presence” on the moon and work toward a trip to Mars, the website states.
The announcement of the Artemis 2 crew follows NASA’s reveal of a new spacesuit designed for long-term use on the moon. The suits are expected to be worn during Artemis 3.