Can you believe it? The first space mission that landed people on the Moon was the Apollo 11 mission, 52 years ago! The last mission, on the other hand, was the Apollo 17 mission, which occurred 50 years ago. Since then, other exploratory projects to the Moon were ‘uncrewed’, meaning they either used an orbiter or a rover to conduct their missions around or on the Moon. Fortunately, in our lifetime, we are likely to witness another such feat for humanity again.
Introducing the Artemis Program!
The Artemis Program is the next ‘big thing’ for space exploration, the next space mission to bring people to the Moon (I wonder if this will cause more debate or conclusion to the Moon Landing naysayers). The success of the programme will also lead forward to the next giant leap for mankind, landing humans on Mars.
3 Reasons to Follow Artemis
While I am certain that not every individual is interested in space, I would first like to present 3 reasons why I believe we should take note of the Artemis Program.
Humans are, arguably, innately curious and it drives us to explore beyond our known boundaries. Whether harmful or beneficial in outcome, discovering new spaces will allow us to learn and advance humanity in scientific pursuits. Children are the epitome of this. Interact with them and you will be bombarded with questions like, “Why are there stars in the night sky?”, “How did the Earth form?”, “Why are there 8 planets? (and where’s Pluto?)”. Artemis will bring us further than any man has been before, literally. Think of the endless questions!
Secondly, Artemis Base Camp.
I will keep the second point short and sweet. Part of Artemis’ plan is to build a research camp at the South Pole of the Moon so that Astronauts can conduct research on the Moon for prolonged periods. If this does not entice you to read further or care about Artemis… Just go on to the next point.
Thirdly, first female Astronaut on the Moon.
Artemis Program will send the first woman and also the first person of colour to the Moon. The Artemis crew comprises of 18 Astronauts from different backgrounds and experience. A big step towards gender and social equality. Quite fitting since the name of the programme is the Greek mythological goddess of the Moon. Did I mention, Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo, Greek god of the Sun?
I hope the above reasons will entice you to expand your universe and learn more about Artemis as this space exploratory mission has quite a number of feats for humanity. With that in mind, I move on to 2 simple things the general audience can do to learn more about Artemis.
2 Actions for Artemis
The very first thing you can do is to be aware of the programme. For Singaporeans, yes, this is far away from us. However, I would like to shine some light that even Singapore has recently set to invest S$150 million in research and development for space technologies. So yes, I think we have good reasons to get more invested in Space programmes. We can tell our kids that they too can become space scientists or engineers, and maybe the first Singaporean astronaut in the long run. Start by getting yourself and your child to learn more about Artemis at www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis/.
Next, follow NASA Artemis social media pages where they upload bite-size updates about the mission regularly. (Heck, they even have a Facebook profile for their spacecraft!) You can also follow Science Centre Singapore and Science Centre Observatory social media pages to catch up more about Artemis as we share important events from Artemis. We will be sharing news about the first stage of the Artemis mission, where they launch their spacecraft, called Orion, to the Moon.
Now, let’s take off and learn more about the first major mission of the programme:
(Artemis) 1 and Blast Off!
Artemis I is the first mission of the programme, which will test out its Orion spacecraft and launcher system known as the Space Launch System (SLS). It is a seemingly ordinary name for the most powerful rocket in the world. The SLS will propel the Orion spacecraft and its secondary systems into Earth Orbit.
On 18 March 2022, the rocket and spacecraft system of Artemis I reached its launch site known as Launch Complex 39B. If you are wondering if Artemis I will soon be launched, the answer is yes! Artemis I is planned to launch no earlier than June 2022. However, this mission is uncrewed, meaning no Astronaut will be on board. After all, this mission is to test their systems capabilities for the very first time.
But don’t go “cheyyy”, hear me out first. While no Astronauts will be on board, you can still get a boarding pass to have your name stored in a thumb drive that will be sent aboard the spacecraft. Don’t believe me? Go check out https://www.nasa.gov/send-your-name-with-artemis/.
Keep a lookout for Artemis. Keep a lookout for the next feat that Humanity is attempting to accomplish. One day, on the news, you will hear that the next group of men and women have landed on the Moon once again.
Artemis Program: https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis/
Written by Jyh Harng Tan
Illustrations by Sung Jernin