Nasa announces names of 4 astronauts who will be first to go to the Moon in 50 years

Nasa announces names of 4 astronauts who will be first to go to the Moon in 50 years

The four astronauts will be the first to go around the Moon in th over 50 years since the Apollo missions ended.

Nasa on Monday announced that astronauts Christina Koch, Victor Glover, Reid Wiseman, and Jeremy Hansen will be the first humans to return to the Moon in over 50 years since the end of the Apollo missions. The four astronauts will go around the Moon with the Artemis-II mission set to launch in 2024 from the United States.

The announcement comes months after a successful Artemis-I mission late last year, which showed the agility of the Space Launch System in launching humans towards the Lunar Orbit on the Orion capsule in bringing them back safely with a precise splash down.

The announcement officially kicks off the preparation for the 10-day-long Artemis-II mission, which will bring humanity one step closer to landing on the Moon again since the Apollo missions. The last time humans walked on the Moon was in 1972 when Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan left his footprints on Earth's natural satellite.

Artemis II will mark the debut crewed flight - but not the first lunar landing - of an Apollo successor program aimed at returning astronauts to the moon's surface this decade and establishing a sustainable outpost there, creating a stepping stone to human exploration of Mars.

The four astronauts were selected from a pool of 18 astronauts who are part of the Artemis corps, which forms a diverse group of individuals from different backgrounds and gender. Nasa plans to land the first woman and the first person of colour on the Moon with plans in the pipeline for a longer presence than the Apollo-era astronauts.

The objective of the Artemis II flight, a 10-day, 2.3-million-kilometer journey around the moon and back, is to demonstrate that all of Orion's life-support apparatus and other systems will operate as designed with astronauts aboard in deep space.

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Artemis II will venture some 10,300 km beyond the far side of the moon before returning, marking the closest pass that humans have made to Earth's natural satellite since Apollo 17, which carried Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt to the lunar surface in December 1972.

They were the last of 12 Nasa astronauts who walked on the moon during six Apollo missions starting in 1969 with Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin.

If Artemis-II is a success, Nasa plans to follow up a few years later with the program's first lunar landing of astronauts, one of them a woman, on Artemis III, then continue with additional crewed missions about once a year.

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