a Snoopy plush, Lego pieces and an Alexa speaker

At about 2:33 p.m. in mainland Spain, there will be those who have an aperitif on the beach, stop their first working day after the holidays or are doing anything else that allows them to be aware of the liftoff of the SLS rocket and the Orion capsule headed for the moon. It is a NASA space mission, known as Artemis I, with which They want the human being to set foot on the natural satellite of the Earth like Neil Armstrong did more than 50 years ago.

[Vídeo | La espectacular prueba de fuego del cohete SLS con el que la NASA volverá a la Luna]

Although on this occasion there are no individuals immersed in the expedition, it does not mean that the ships will go ’empty’. It happens every time someone goes as a tourist to a place that they may not visit again, they end up buying something —usually a fridge magnet— to serve as a reminder of that experience. Or if he moves leaving behind the city where he was born, surely he will also take a memory of his place of origin. Well, NASA was not going to be less, and has already more than 60 years with this tradition of including objects inside spaceships.

In the mission that will start the Artemis I program, the launch of the SLS rocket and the Orion capsule, some 50 kilos of souvenirs and other items that belong to the official flight kit have been estimated. This custom has also been repeated in expeditions of such magnitude as the Voyager probe’s golden record and the Perseverance rover’s microchip of 10.9 million names.

The takeoff, which is scheduled for this August 29 dIt is the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, will make toys, mannequins, stuffed animals and even Amazon assistant Alexa, set course for the moon. But, doWhat is the purpose for which all these types of objects are sent?

utility of objects

In case someone hadn’t already thought about it, NASA doesn’t make any decisions without being able to help the results of its expeditions. In the case of Artemis, the curious objects will serve to collect data on what future human crews might experience on a lunar voyage.

It is for this reason that the pilot’s seat of the Orion capsule will be occupied by Commander Moonikin Campos, in tribute to Arturo Campos, an administrator of NASA’s electrical power subsystem who helped in the safe return of Apollo 13 to Earth. Land. In the back of his seat and on the backrest he will have placed sensors that will track acceleration and vibration for the duration of the missionwhich is expected to last about 42 days.

However, Moonikin Campos will not travel alone, but accompanied by the “ghosts” Helgar and Zohar, who will also go on the Orion. These dummies have about 5,600 sensors and 34 radiation detectors that measure the level of radiation exposure that will occur during the mission. Her ‘clothing’ is made of a material that mimics a woman’s soft tissues, organs, and bones. And it is that this mission will take the first woman to the Moon, in a feat with a Spanish imprint.

Within all the objects that Artemis I will carry, there is also the assistant of Amazon, Alexa,. A presence that does not attract attention, because it is not strange that the tycoon Jeff Bezos has decided to participate in the return of the human being to the Moon. He has done so accompanied by the companies Lockheed Martin and Cisco, with whom they have developed “Callisto”, a name with which they pay homage to one of Artemis’s hunting assistants from Greek mythology.

SLS rocket with Orion spacecraft on the Kennedy Space Center launch pad

This is a technology demo to test how these teleconferencing apps work in space. Thus, a touchscreen tablet will share live video and audio between the spacecraft and the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Additionally, astronauts and flight controllers can use technology to make their jobs safer and more efficient as humans explore deep space.

toys in space

The history of space and the character of comics snoopy they have always gone hand in hand. In fact, the Apollo 10 lunar module was named after the dog himself because his job was to snoop around and explore the Apollo 11 landing site, according to NASA. Although the relationship does not stop there, because in 1990 a Snoopy stuffed animal flew into space for the first time aboard the Columbia shuttle.

The mannequins aboard the Artemis I mission

The mannequins aboard the Artemis I mission

David C Bowman/NASA


Where a child sees a simple toy, the US space agency is seeing a “zero gravity indicator.” This is how NASA refers to toys, which they begin to float once the spacecraft has entered zero gravity. The Artemis I mission will carry, in addition to a Snoopy stuffed animal, a small Shaun the sheep toy, which was part of the film known in Spain as Wallace & Gromit.

In the case of a ‘trunk’ full of toys, could not miss the Danish company LEGO. And it is that in Orion there will be four building blocks, as a result of the partnership between NASA and LEGO so that young people and adults are interested in the so-called “STEM Education”, which brings together the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

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