NASA Reveals Astronaut Crew For Historic Artemis II Moon Mission
NASA has revealed the crew for its upcoming Artemis II mission, which will mark the first time in the history of our species that a black astronaut and a female astronaut have ventured beyond low Earth orbit to visit lunar space.
It’s been over 50 years since the Apollo 17 crew said goodbye to Earth’s moon. Since that final mission of the Apollo program, humanity has retreated back to our homeworld, allowing robotic pioneers to explore the wonders of the solar system while we watched from the comparative safety of low Earth orbit.
But the coming decades could see a dramatic change in the status quo. NASA and its partners have decided that it is once again time for humanity to walk on the surface of the Moon and establish a permanent presence to test the technologies that will be needed for a future manned mission to Mars.
Artemis II: Meet the Crew.
Earlier this week, NASA unveiled the four-person astronaut crew that will take humanity’s next steps in solar system exploration when the 10-day Artemis II mission launches into lunar space in late 2024.
NASA’s Artemis II mission: Meet the astronauts
The mission will be led by Commander Reid Wiseman, who joined NASA’s 20th astronaut class in 2009 after serving as a fighter and test pilot for the US Air Force. Wiseman has since completed a 165-day mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), during which he served as Expedition 41’s flight engineer, taking almost 13 hours worth of spacewalks.
Meanwhile, Victor J. Glover, Jr. has been assigned the task of piloting NASA’s Orion capsule. Glover accumulated over 3,000 hours of flight time during his military career, during which he served as a fighter and test pilot, while completing a Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering. As a NASA astronaut, Glover was present for the second operational flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, and served a tour of duty aboard the ISS as part of Expedition 64.
Christina Hammock Koch will occupy the third seat in the Orion capsule, serving as Mission Specialist 1 on the Artemis II mission. Koch worked in fieldwork and space science instrument development during her early career, creating instruments for the Juno and Van Allen probes before completing her astronaut training in 2015. Koch has since flown on a spacecraft Soyuz manufactured by Russia and has spent 328 days on board. ISS. She holds the record for the longest space flight by a woman and participated in the first all-female spacewalk.
NASA’s first launch of the space launch system, the moon rocket
Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen will serve as Mission Specialist 2 during the Artemis II mission. Hansen was a fighter pilot before completing astronaut training in 2011, after which he served at NASA’s Mission Control Center supporting capcom missions. This will be Hansen’s first trip to space.
While the crew of Artemis II will not have the honor of setting foot on the moon, they will still achieve a number of historic milestones for the human race. First and foremost it will see the first black astronaut, Victor Glover, and the first female astronaut, Christina Hammock Koch, travel beyond low Earth orbit to visit lunar space.
Artemis II will also be the first crewed mission to use both the Orion capsule and NASA’s colossal Space Launch System (SLS) Moon rocket. The 10-day walk will be used to test the capabilities of the Orion capsule and its European Service Module ahead of the Artemis III mission, which will finally return humans to the surface of Earth’s moon.
“The Artemis II crew represents the thousands of people who work tirelessly to bring us to the stars. This is their crew, this is our crew, this is humanity’s crew,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement posted on the agency’s website.
“NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover and Christina Hammock Koch, and CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen each have their own story, but together they represent our belief: E pluribus unum – out of many, one. Together, we are ushering in a new era of exploration for a new generation of sailors and star dreamers – the Artemis Generation.”
NASA recently unveiled a prototype of the next-generation spacesuit that will be used by astronauts walking on the lunar surface during the planned Artemis III mission. Be sure to stay with IGN to stay up to date with all the biggest news in the world of science.
Anthony is a freelance contributor covering science and video game news for IGN. He has over eight years of experience covering groundbreaking developments in multiple scientific fields and has absolutely no time for your shenanigans. Follow him on Twitter @BeardConGamer