Snoopy, legos, mannequins… what are the 54 kilos of junk that Artemis carries for?
In what has now become a tradition for NASA, space missions carry on board unusual objects that, for the most part, are not intended for a practical function, but rather serve as reminders of our very humanity, from history to pop culture. . The commander of STS-116 Mark Polanski launched a teddy bear, a replica of one owned by a Holocaust survivor, into orbit in 2006. It was later given to a museum.
A year later, the lightsaber he used Luke Skywalker in ‘return of the jedi‘ also spent two weeks on Space Shuttle Discovery for STS-120. The toys of ‘starwars‘ are among the favorites of astronauts. There are many more examples. Artemis I, the mission destined to return humanity to the Moon, is unmanned but will also carry a long list of strange knick-knacks that includes a Snoopy doll, another of the shaun the sheep (protagonist of a recommended children’s cartoon series), a lot of Legos, seeds, mannequins, flags, badges and even a statuette.
All together they form a load of 54 kilos. At the moment, they are waiting inside the Orion capsule for the engineers of the US space agency to give the green light for its launch with the SLS (Space Launch System) mega-rocket, which last Monday had to be canceled for him failure of one of the engines. If the technicians manage to solve the problem, it is possible that the takeoff will take place this Friday.
One of the most endearing objects in Artemis I is the doll snoopy, a regular of space flights. The POT has remembered the famous fictional dog and its creator, Charles M. Schulz, from the Apollo missions for educational purposes. In May 1969, the Apollo 10 astronauts Gene Cernan, John Young and Thomas Stafford traveled to the Moon for one last look before the attempted landing. The mission required skimming the surface of the Moon and ‘sniffing’ the spot where Apollo 11 would later land, prompting the crew to name the lunar module ‘Snoopy’. The command module was named ‘CharlieBrown‘, in honor of Snoopy’s loyal owner. Snoopy’s first flight into space was in 1990, aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia during mission STS-32.
In Artemis, Snoopy will fulfill a function. He will travel as a zero-gravity gauge, a visual indicator of when a spacecraft reaches weightlessness. He will share the cabin with another stuffed animal, Shaun the sheep, given by the European Space Agency (ESA), which provided the Orion service module. And with four Lego figures as part of an ongoing partnership between NASA and the toy company, hoping to engage younger people in science and technology projects.
This fantasy crew will be led by Commander Moonikin Campos, a dummy capable of collecting data on what future human crews might experience on a lunar voyage. Named after the Hispanic engineer who helped bring the crew of the crashed Apollo 13 back to Earth safely, he will wear the new suit Orion Crew Survival System, designed for astronauts during launch and re-entry. The suit has two sensors to measure radiation exposure during flight.
Next to Campos there will be two ‘ghosts’, Helga Y Zohar, female torsos made of materials that mimic human soft tissues, organs and bones. In total, the two torsos have more than 5,600 sensors and 34 radiation detectors.
The official flight kit includes endless memorabilia and items to be used as prizes and museum displays. Proposed by different organizations, many are flags, patches and badges that will go to the employees and technicians who worked on the project. The National Air and Space Museum in Washington has shared several items from the Apollo missions, including an Apollo 8 commemorative medallion and patch, a part from one of the F-1 engines, and a small moon rock collected by Apollo. 11. They will be exhibited when they return.
Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, will take part in the trip as a demonstration of technology developed between Lockheed Martin, Amazon and Cisco. With the name of ‘Callisto‘, one of Artemis’s hunting assistants in Greek mythology, will try to show how it can make the work of astronauts easier on their journeys.
There are also tree seeds that will later be distributed in educational centers. Seeds carried on the Apollo 14 mission were later planted and grown into ‘moon trees’ as part of an experiment to understand the effects of the space environment on seeds.
In addition to the animated sheep, the ESA has also delivered a poster of ‘A trip to the moon’, from Georges Meliesand a 3D printed replica of a statuette of the Greek goddess Artemis after whom the mission is named and which will be exhibited at the Acropolis Museum in Greece.
Symbolically, the Israel Space Agency offered a pebble from the lowest dry land surface on Earth, the shore of the Dead Sea. Along with all that collection of objects that define who we are, this humble stone will travel on a flight that will reach farther than