NASA Artemis launch: What is the project’s mission and when will astronauts land on the moon?
Nasa launched its Artemis moon rocket on Wednesday morning, sending the uncrewed rocket on a 25-day test flight in which it will fly around the moon and back.
The Artemis I mission comes 50 years after the space agency’s last Apollo moon mission, with this rocket launched in anticipation of a 2025 moon landing.
The Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s saw 12 men land on the moon, but the Artemis mission is the first time a generation will see men –and women – make a lunar landing.
Libby Jackson, head of space exploration at the UK Space Agency, said: “The launch of the Artemis 1 mission is a hugely significant moment for the global Space community, paving the way for humanity to return to the Moon in the coming years.
“The Artemis programme marks the next chapter of human space exploration, and we look forward to continued involvement as it comes to life.”
How long does it take to get to the moon?
The moon is around 238,855 miles from Earth on average, depending on where it is in its orbit.
The time it takes to get to the moon depends on a number of factors, including whether the rocket is crewed or not. According to Nasa, it takes between 2.5 and four days to reach the moon.
The Apollo 11 mission, which was the first crewed mission to land on the moon, took the astronauts four days to reach Earth’s satellite.
What does Artemis mean and what is the project’s mission?
The Artemis project is named after the Greek goddess of the moon and sister to Apollo, the namesake of Nasa’s first moon missions.
Appropriately, Artemis’s mission is to land two astronauts – including the first woman – on the moon in 2025.
Nasa says the project’s aims are “scientific discovery, economic benefit, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers”.
The space agency will build an Artemis Base Camp on the surface, which will allow astronauts and robots to explore more than before.
Who was the first person on the moon?
The first astronauts landed on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.
Astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first person to step foot on the moon, famously saying: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” as he did so.
Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin soon joined Armstrong on the moon, while astronaut Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit.
Who was the last person on the moon?
The last astronauts to walk on the moon were Gene Cernan and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, as part of the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
Astronaut Ronald Evans was also a part of the mission but remained on board.
Full list of astronauts to walk the moon
A total of 12 men have walked on the moon as part of six Apollo missions:
Apollo 11: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin
Apollo 12: Pete Conrad, Alan Bean
Apollo 14: Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell
Apollo 15: David Scott, James Irwin
Apollo 16: John Young, Charles Duke
Apollo 17: Gene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt
The Apollo 13 astronauts Jim Lovell and Fred Haise were also set to walk on the moon but their mission was aborted because an oxygen tank exploded.