NASA on Monday unveiled the four astronauts who will be flying closer to the moon than any human since the last Apollo mission five decades ago.
NASA astronauts Christina Koch, Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen will perform a flyby of our nearest neighbor in the Artemis II mission, currently scheduled for November next year.
They’ll launch to space aboard NASA’s recently tested Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft.
A short while after NASA introduced the four astronauts at a special event at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, the agency shared a cinematic video (below) featuring the crew.
“When I was young, I had a poster of the famous Earthrise picture that was taken on Apollo 8,” Koch, who will be the first woman to go on a lunar mission, said in the video. “And the fact that it was a human behind the lens that made that picture so profound and changed how we all thought of our own home was so amazing to me.”
Koch adds: “The moon is not just a symbol of thinking about our place in the universe, it’s not just a symbol of exploration. It’s actually a beacon for science, it’s a beacon for understanding where we came from.”
Glover, who will become the first person of color to embark on a voyage goes outside of low-Earth orbit, said: “Pushing ourselves to explore is core to who we are, it’s a part of being a human, that’s our nature. We go out there, we explore to learn about where we are, why we are, to understand the big questions about our place in the universe.”
The Orion spacecraft will fly within just 80 miles of the lunar surface before flying further out into space, possibly reaching the furthest point from Earth ever traveled by a human. A successful mission will pave the way for a lunar landing, possibly in 2025, in the Artemis III mission.
Commenting on the upcoming mission, NASA chief Bill Nelson said: “The Artemis II crew represents thousands of people working tirelessly to bring us to the stars. This is their crew, this is our crew, this is humanity’s crew.”
Nelson added: “NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, and Christina Hammock Koch, and CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen, each has their own story, but, together, they represent our creed: E pluribus unum — out of many, one. Together, we are ushering in a new era of exploration for a new generation of star sailors and dreamers — the Artemis Generation.”
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