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NASA’s Orion Capsule Has Made It To The Moon, Completing Its Closest Lunar Flyby – SlashGear



NASA's Orion Capsule Has Made It To The Moon, Completing Its Closest Lunar Flyby - SlashGear

The Orion spacecraft is traveling around the moon for the Artemis I mission, part of NASA’s long-term Artemis program. The idea is to test out new equipment like the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft in an uncrewed mission to ensure that they are safe and work as expected. The next phase of the program, called Artemis II, will be to send a crew in the Orion spacecraft into orbit around the moon. Then Artemis III will involve a crewed mission landing on the moon for the first time in more than 50 years. Currently, Artemis III is planned for 2025 (per Space News).

As well as testing out the new hardware, there are also some scientific aims to the current Artemis I mission. Included in the Space Launch System launch were 10 small satellites, called CubeSats. These satellites included missions to study ice on the moon with the Lunar IceCube mission, a project called the Near Earth Asteroid Scout which will use solar sailing to fly by a small asteroid, and the BioSentinel mission which will investigate what happens to live organics in the form of yeast when they’re exposed to space radiation.

These CubeSats are separate from the Orion spacecraft and have already been deployed. Orion will have its own research onboard as well, such as dummies which will be used to measure how much radiation future human astronauts could be expected to be exposed to on lunar missions.

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