50 Years Later, Artemis Renews the Promise of Space Travel

In December, NASA will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 17 - which, as of today, is the last time anyone from Earth has stepped foot on the Moon. But after the successful launch of Orion - an unmanned spacecraft built with the world’s most powerful rocket - this week, there is hope that the half-century drought will come to an end soon.


After two aborted attempts in August and September, Orion’s Space Launch System was given the ‘go’ to depart from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 1:47pm local time on Wednesday, November 16th. After the rocket performed a number of specific maneuvers to set it on the correct trajectory to the moon, NASA is considering the first phase of the mission a success.


The ambitious new space program, titled Artemis, is driven by a 100-meter tall spaceship, and holds some lofty goals for both NASA and the European Space Agency. Through a series of increasingly complex missions, the goal of Artemis is to establish surface habitats, and even eventually a mini space station in orbit around the Moon (at one point, it will even become the furthest a ‘human-rated’ spacecraft has ever traveled from Earth).


If the rest of the mission - which involves orbiting the moon before returning to the atmosphere and landing in the Pacific Ocean on December 11th - is a success, it is the first planned step in a decades-long program.  Those dreams are still a long way away; but with its success, will open the door to a new age of space travel.

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