Humanity has been known to experience a distinctly universal longing for navigating outer space evidenced by countless manned and unmanned space missions taking flight in the last several years.
The Artemis I launch under NASA is set to be only the first in a series of missions designed to form a long-term human presence on the moon. The decades-long plan, according to NASA, is to “lead humanity forward to the Moon and prepare us for the next giant leap, human exploration of Mars.”
The Artemis mission will also land the first woman and person of color on the moon. Jessica Meir, the astronaut in question is the daughter of Israeli and Swedish immigrants and holds a Ph.D. in Marine Biology.
Artemis I is an uncrewed mission that would allow NASA to exhibit the capabilities of their Space Launch Systems (SLS) and the Orion crew capsule. However, technical issues had resulted in the initial launch on August 29, 2022, to be rescheduled to September 3 because of a faulty reading on a sensor.
These missions have very specific launch windows largely due to two primary reasons: 1) the movement of the earth and the moon, and 2) maximizing fuel efficiency.
On September 3, a two-hour window to launch the mission was set at 2:17 PM EST. However, this was also aborted because of a hydrogen leak that NASA was unable to repair in time.
There are two other launch windows available on September 5 and 6, however, NASA has decided to call off the launch as of now. In a webcast interview, NASA Chief Bill Nelson said that the mission managers would convene later to discuss a future launch opportunity and potentially move the rocket back to the assembly building for further troubleshooting, meaning that the launch may be postponed to October.
The Artemis mission is a landmark in the history of human space exploration with the program's goal to increase female representation in the program being a key point. Another part of the Artemis mission is to study how radiation affects the human body and what NASA can do to protect their astronauts better on future long-term missions.
For now, all we can do is wait and watch how the mission unfolds in the coming months and the anticipated Artemis III in 2025, which will be the first manned moon mission since Apollo 17 in 1972.