NASA Names The Next Moon Mission After Apollo’s Twin Sister!
Very few people knows that the Greek god, Apollo, had a twin sister, a goddess of the Moon, and NASA is about to change that forever! NASA has a new plan to establish a permanent lunar presence and put an American on the Moon by 2024. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original Apollo Mission, Congress has set aside a $1.6 billion budget increase for NASA earmarked for lunar missions.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine let the news out in a call with reporters on Monday:
“It turns out that Apollo had a twin sister, Artemis. She happens to be the goddess of the moon. Our astronaut office is very diverse and highly qualified. I think it is very beautiful that 50 years after Apollo, the Artemis program will carry the next man — and the first woman — to the moon,” Bridenstine said.
In Greek mythology, Apollo and Artemis were the twin children of Zeus. In addition to being the goddess of the moon, Artemis was also the goddess of the hunt. Orion was her hunting companion.
The name “Apollo” was first proposed for the 1960s moon landing program by Abe Silverstein, NASA’s then-director for spaceflight development. He chose the name because of its connection to Greek mythology and its “attractive connotations,” per the space agency.
ARTEMIS: Twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon. Now, the name for our #Moon2024 mission to return @NASA_Astronauts to the surface of the Moon by 2024, including the first woman and next man. pic.twitter.com/1K9qIloZwp
— NASA (@NASA) May 13, 2019
Being associated with the Moon, Artemis naturally already has a few associations with astronomy and spaceflight: More than one satellite or mission has used the name, and there are features on both Venus and the Moon itself that are named after her. But this would be by far the highest-profile application of the moniker.
Artemis would refer, presumably (I’ve asked NASA for clarification), to the major upcoming missions concerned with establishing a permanent presence on the Moon. That likely includes any major missions to explore the lunar surface, as well as any constructing infrastructure there or in lunar orbit, for example the planned Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway.
The announcement follows that of a new $1.6 billion budget increase for NASA earmarked for lunar missions — that ought to help get the ball rolling.
The femininity of the name is a deliberate choice as well: The Apollo missions were crewed exclusively by men, though they relied on many women for their success. This time around things are different: Both women and men have now explored and set records in space, and no doubt those of other identifications will do so soon as well.
Bridenstine said he’s counting on this for the next generation: “I have an 11 year old daughter, and i want her to be able to see herself in the same way that our current very diverse astronaut corps sees itself.”
It is exciting to see the United States taking a front row in space exploration again. It is high time that we returned America’s space exploration program to its former glory.
The recent history of the program over the last decade needed to be overturned, and that is exactly what is happening. READ HERE!
We have learned so much though the space program, during the last 50 years,and before. We have gained incredible technology and insight, that we use every day.
We need to get back to that ASAP!