NASA is offering space enthusiasts a chance to fly their names around the Moon. The US space agency has set up a website where you can add your name on a flash drive that will travel aboard Artemis I, an unmanned mission to orbit the Moon and test the Space Launch System (SLS). Artemis I paves the way for landing the first woman and the first person of colour on the Moon in the coming years. It will be the first of a series of complex missions aimed at establishing a long-term human presence on the Moon in the coming decades.
The Moon landing will be a new beginning for NASA, which aims to turn it into a colony for humans to stay for long durations and conduct launches for missions further into the solar system, including Mars. NASA has already sent the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity chopper to study and collect samples on the Red Planet.
“Fly your name around the moon,” stated a note on the NASA website. To register, all you have to do is to visit the website and fill in your details like first name and last name in the space provided and then generate a pin code for future use. “Remember your pin. You will need it to access your boarding pass in the future,” the site says.
However, the Artemis I mission has been hit by repeated delays. It was originally scheduled to launch in November 2021. The latest update from NASA said that it was looking at a launch window in May this year.
Once Artemis I is launched, scientists and engineers will study the data it sends, and then the human flight will be launched. NASA Inspector General Paul Martin said recently that human flight landing on the Moon was unlikely before 2026.
A report by Space.com quoted Martin as saying during a House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee hearing that given the time required to build and test the human landing technology as well as NASA's next-generation spacesuits, a crewed lunar landing is likely to be delayed until at least 2026.
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