NASA is set to send a new generation of astronauts to the moon — including the first woman and the first person of colour — and the space agency is inviting you along for the ride. By
Alright, so you won’t literally be joining the astronauts in their spacecraft, but you can still participate in NASA’s Artemis moon program from home. To start your “journey,” acquire your boarding pass — simply register here to have your name added to a flash drive that will be sent to the moon aboard Artemis I, the first mission in the program, and you’ll be issued one. (As of publication, more than 2 million people have already added their names to the list.)
Here’s everything you need to know about NASA’s rocket launch this summer
Currently in its “wet rehearsal” testing phase and due to launch this summer, Artemis I will see the first flight of the new Space Launch System (SLS), the world’s most powerful rocket, and the Orion capsule. Though there won’t be any astronauts on board, the mission will test the new hardware on a flight around the moon to ensure it’s ready for the first crew in 2024.
After you’ve received your boarding pass, NASA invites you to share what you’d pack for a moon trip with the hashtag #NASAMoonKit. You might even have the chance to be featured on NASA’s social media channels or on the live launch broadcast of Artemis I. For a real challenge, try to pack everything in a bag that’s just 5-by-8-by-2 inches — that’s all the space real astronauts are given for personal items. (And you thought airlines were strict with carry-ons.)
As we approach the launch, you can hype yourself up with NASA Moon Tunes, a playlist co-curated with Third Rock Radio with about 13 hours of space-themed music, or with NASA podcasts. You’ll also eventually be able to “track your flight” with the Artemis Real-time Orbital Website and share photos on Snapchat with Artemis I filters.
Should all go according to plan with Artemis I this summer, the first crew will launch on Artemis II, currently scheduled for 2024, which will fly around the moon just like Apollo 10. Then, the first lunar landing — akin to Apollo 11 — will take place on Artemis III, tentatively in 2025.