The Artemis I mission to the moon took some big strides when NASA recently unveiled its powerful, partially assembled SLS rocket (below). Now the space agency is asking for help naming their first (non-human) passenger, or “Moonikin”, who will fly aboard the Orion capsule. The dummy will fly on the first mission to collect data on how a trip to the moon could affect the human body.
NASA’s Name The Artemis Moonikin Challenge lets the public choose between eight pre-selected names instead of risking a “Boaty McBoatface” -type situation. These names are: Ace, Wargo, Delos, Duhart, Campos, Shackleton, Montgomery and Rigel. Everyone has meaning – for example, Montgomery pays homage to Julius Montgomery, “the first African American ever hired to work as a technical professional at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,” NASA said. Duhart is meanwhile an allusion to the former chief physician Dr. Irene Huart Long.
Starting today, NASA will publish the vote on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in a knockout tournament challenge. The final vote will take place on June 28th and the Moonikin’s official name will be announced on June 29th.
The Moonikin itself (usually referred to as a doll) “is equipped with two radiation sensors and sensors in the seat – one under the headrest and another behind the seat – to record acceleration and vibration throughout the mission as Orion around the moon and back to Moon travels earth, “said NASA. It is accompanied by” phantoms “made of materials that imitate the bones, tissues and organs of an adult woman. They already have names: Zolgar and Helga.
NASA last planned to fly the Artemis-I unmanned mission in November 2021, though such schedules tend to slip. The ultimate goal is the first manned landing in 2024, including future missions, to land the first woman and person of color on the moon.
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