This month, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of putting men on the moon. That’s right. Fifty years ago, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped foot on the lunar surface. They arrived via the Apollo XI spaceship then the lunar landing vehicle.
If you recall the spaceships that carried more than two people were all named Apollo after the Roman and Greek god of the sun. It’s rare that in mythology, the Roman and Greek names are the same. Apollo’s twin sister was Artemis (in Greek) and Diana (in Roman myths), goddess of the hunt.
Artemis of Ephesus (Ephesus Archaeological Museum)
Artemis is also the goddess of the moon.
This isn’t a lesson in mythology, even though I find it interesting. NASA’s program to place men on the moon and develop an on-going presence there is called Artemis. With that little mythology lesson, it makes sense why. Apollo program put a man on the moon. Artemis will send a woman there. Is that cool or what?
We hear a lot about inclusion and diversity. According to NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, the new name for the program represents the goal of including women, more importantly to land a woman on the moon. Soon. Like 2024.
I have two granddaughters. Like their mothers, they’ve been taught that girls can do anything. It took many years before women were allowed into the space program and then into space. What a marvelous experience for today’s girls to see women step foot on the moon and work there.
When I read about the new programs, my first thought is how are they going to do it. They will put something like a space station, called the Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway, that will orbit the moon. The astronauts, a four-person crew, will use it as their home-away-from-home. From there, using the Lunar Lander, they will make trips down to the moon’s surface then back again doing research, gathering data, and conducting scientific experiments. They will spend thirty to ninety days on Gateway before returning to Earth.
|Lunar Lander (credit: NASA)|
If you want to read more about the Artemis program, here are a couple of links.