Featured Photo: The Artemis 2 crew of (clockwise from top) Victor Glover, Jeremy Hansen, Reid Wiseman and Christina Koch. Credit: NASA
This month, the NASA announced the full crew for Artemis-2, its first manned mission to moon in over five decades. The four-member team includes a historically inclusive set of astronauts in keeping with the agency’s promise to promote diversity among its staff. This includes the first Canadian, the first woman, and first Black person to participate in such a mission. Artemis-2 is part of a larger plan by NASA to eventually pave the way towards the manned exploration of Mars.
The four personnel of Artemis-2 were presented to the public in a ceremony held in Houston, before the start of an intensive training session that might last for years. The mission is expected to depart for the moon in late-2024 or early-2025 and return after a ten-day flight. The four astronauts will not be landing on the lunar surface, but instead will serve as a pilot study until NASA develops such capabilities some time in the near future.
All previous missions to Mars organized by the NASA were led by Euro-American men. The newest crew will be led by Reid Wiseman, a veteran navy pilot who spent 165 days aboard the International Space Station in 2014.
Victor Glover, 46, will serve as the vessel’s pilot. A father of four, Glover is one of the only half a dozen Black Americans in NASA’s astronaut corps and spent 168 days on the International Space Station in 2021-2022 as part of SpaceX Crew Dragon’s first live mission into space. He has accumulated over 3,000 hours in flight time through his remarkable career.
Christina Koch, 44, has experience in Atlantic research and spent nearly a full year in space in 2019-2020. She is also one of the three legendary female spacewalkers from the era, having spent a total of 42 hours and 15 minutes outside the International Space Station.
Jeremy Hansen, the last member of the expedition and the only crew member without prior space flight experience, will also be the first Canadian ever to venture outside the Earth’s orbit. He is a colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces and a father of three.
Koch and Hanse will be serving as ‘mission specialists’.
If successful, the mission will mark the first time a Black person has departed for a mission to the Moon orbit. Last year, Dawn Wright also made history by becoming the first African American to reach the deepest point in the Mariana Trench.
On the occasion, Glover celebrated Artemis-2 as a crucial step on the race towards Mars. He said: “We need to celebrate this moment in human history because Artemis-2 is more than a mission to the Moon and back. It is more than a mission that has to happen before we send people to the surface of the Moon. It is the next step on the journey that gets humanity to Mars.”
Koch remarked: “Are you excited? I asked that because the one thing I am most excited about is that we are going to carry your excitement, your aspirations, your dreams with us, on this mission, Artemis-2, your mission.”