NASA is making plans to send the first woman and the next man to the moon in 2024.
The last time humans visited our nearest neighbor was in 1972, so there’s much excitement among space fans keen to witness the next landing just a few years from now.
Work on the ambitious Artemis program is well underway, with NASA collaborating with commercial partners such as SpaceX and Boeing to provide the necessary launch and landing vehicles to make the lunar trip happen.
To keep the project in the public eye while at the same time educating folks young and old about the upcoming mission, NASA has been posting various videos and other interesting tidbits online.
A recent campaign involved asking space fans what they would pack for a trip to the moon, with anyone interested able to submit their ideas using the #NASAMoonKit hashtag.
It turns out the most popular items were a good book, teddy bears, and coffee.
NASA this week tweeted a short video (below) showing some of the submissions it received after asking folks what items they’d take with them on a moon mission.
Good books. Teddy bears. Coffee. ☕
These are some of the most common things found in what people said they would put in their suitcase for their #Artemis trip to the Moon. Would you include these things in your #NASAMoonKit? https://t.co/5oa7FNBatM pic.twitter.com/aB8mL7zVh1
— NASA (@NASA) November 12, 2020
One young lad’s kit included a podcast set for sharing broadcasts about his experiences 240,000 miles from Earth, a rock hammer for exploration, family photos, and a lightsaber for any unexpected Star Wars-like experiences.
NASA said that astronauts actually have “pretty tight constraints when it comes to their ‘personal preference kit,’” adding that each visitor to the International Space Station, for example, is allowed a space of just 5 inches by 8 inches by 2 inches (12.7 cm x 20.32 cm x 5.08 cm) for items they want to take.
NASA’s Space Launch System
The next crewed mission to the moon will be made possible by NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket ever built.
The space agency is currently conducting tests on the rocket’s 212-foot-tall core stage, with the final phases of a so-called “Green Run” testing program expected to take place before the end of this year.
A Green Run sees all of the rocket hardware put through its paces for the first time, and in the case of the SLS will include a ground-based hot fire test with all four of the stage’s RS-25 engines firing.
SLS is 98.1 meters (322 feet) tall, or 5.2 meters (17 feet) taller than the Statue of Liberty. During the launch, the rocket will produce 8.8 million pounds of thrust, “equivalent to more than 160,000 Corvette engines,” as NASA puts it. That’s 13% more than the space shuttle and 15% more than the Saturn V launch vehicle used by NASA for its earlier crewed missions to the moon all those years ago.
All being well, the first launch of NASA’s SLS rocket will be the uncrewed Artemis 1 test flight in November 2021.
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