Back to the moon: 6 unique things Artemis I is taking into space

The Artemis programme is an important endeavour to support human exploration of the solar system

The Artemis programme is an important endeavour to support human exploration of the solar system Image: NASA

Lukas Bester
Writer, Forum Agenda
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  • NASA has launched its Artemis 1 test rocket, its first in an effort to establish a human presence on the Moon.
  • The Artemis missions will establish a base camp on the Moon's surface, which will be used for lunar and deep space exploration missions.
  • Artemis I, which uses Orion spacecraft, carries astronaut dummies, scientific tests, moon rocks, Amazon's Alexa, seeds to be planted on the Moon, and beloved cartoon character plushies.

NASA's epic Artemis missions officially launched its first test rocket - Artemis I - this week. The Artemis missions, which will see NASA land the first woman and first person of colour on the Moon, are the space agency's effort to build a long-term human presence on the Moon.

With a base camp to be set up on the surface of the Moon, NASA is leading a global alliance focused on scientific discovery through lunar and deep space exploration, as well as exploring potential economic benefits that can be unlocked in space. NASA sees the Artemis Base Camp as an opportunity to learn more about the next major effort in space exploration: sending astronauts to Mars.

Nikolai Khlystov, the World Economic Forum's Lead for Space and the Global Future Council on Space, says of the launch: "The Artemis programme is an important endeavour to support human exploration of the solar system."

Khylstov adds that this mission benefits all humankind, which makes international collaboration all the more important: "Establishing a human presence on and around the Moon in the near-term and possibly Mars later on, will bring scientific and technological progress to society as a whole, with international collaboration playing a critical role."

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  • Space for Net Zero

Artemis I's primary goal is to demonstrate the efficacy of the Orion spacecraft in a spaceflight environment and ensure a safe re-entry, descent, splashdown, and recovery prior to the first manned flight on Artemis II.

Some of the unique items on board Artemis I include:

Astronaut mannequins: Dummy astronauts - Commander Moonikin Campos, Helga and Zohar - will occupy the driver seats in the rocket and be kitted out with sensors and full space suits to test for cosmic radiation

CubeSats: Science investigation units, the size of a shoe box, which will be deployed into deep space to conduct science experiments

Moon rocks: In 1969, aboard Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin brought back some moon rocks to Earth - some of these will be on board Artemis I

Moon trees: Artemis I will carry out different biological experiments, too, including planting seeds that will, hopefully, become the first flora on the Moon

Callisto: Lockheed Martin, Amazon, and Cisco have partnered to bring Alexa and Webex video collaboration aboard Orion to help astronauts and flight controllers make their jobs simpler and safer

Plushy toys: Beloved cartoon characters Snoopy and Shaun the Sheep will accompany the dummy astronauts on their first mission.

To learn more about how the World Economic Forum and the Future Council on Space are creating stronger collaboration in the space industry, click here.

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