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Although no human crew is traveling on NASA’s Artemis I mission, that doesn’t mean the Orion spacecraft will be empty.
When the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule, scheduled for liftoff on August 29, depart for a journey beyond the moon, the spacecraft will carry special items on board.
Inside Orion will be three mannequins, toys and even an Amazon Alexa, as well as historical and educational items.
The mission – which will launch the Artemis program, with the aim of eventually returning humans to the Moon – continues a tradition that began in the 1960s with NASA spacecraft carrying memories. The tradition includes the Voyager gold record and the The 10.9 million name Perseverance rover microchip. Artemis I will carry 120 souvenir books and other items in her official flight kit.
Sitting in Orion’s commander’s seat will be Commander Moonikin Campos, an adapted dummy who can collect data on what future human crews might experience while traveling on the moon. His name, chosen via a public competition, is a nod to Arturo Camposa NASA electrical power subsystem manager who assisted in the safe return of Apollo 13 to Earth.
The commander’s station has sensors in place behind the seat and headrest to track acceleration and vibration for the duration of the mission, which is expected to last approximately 42 days. The model will also wear the new Orion Crew Survival System suit designed for astronauts during launch and reentry. The suit has two radiation sensors.
Two “ghosts” named Helga and Zohar will ride in other Orion seats. These mannequin torsos are made of materials that mimic a woman’s soft tissues, organs and bones. Both torsos have more than 5,600 sensors and 34 radiation detectors to measure the amount of radiation exposure during the mission.
The mannequins are part of the Matroshka AstroRad radiation experiment, a collaboration between the German Aerospace Center, the Israeli Space Agency, NASA and institutions from several countries. Zohar will wear AstroRad, a radiation shielding vest, to test its effectiveness if future crews encounter a solar storm.
Amazon Alexa will be there as a technology demonstration developed between Lockheed Martin, Amazon and Cisco. The tech demo, called Callisto, features reconfigured versions of Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, and Cisco’s WebEx conferencing platform to test how these apps perform in the space.
The goal of Callisto, named after one of Artemis’ fighter’s assistants from Greek mythology, is to demonstrate how astronauts and flight controllers can use technology to make their jobs safer and more efficient when humans explore deep space.
Callisto will ride on the center console of Orion. The touchscreen tablet will share live video and audio between the spacecraft and Johnson Space Center Mission Control in Houston.
Snoopy and space go together. The beloved character created by Charles M. Schulz has been associated with NASA missions since the Apollo program, when Schulz drew comics showing Snoopy on the moon. The Apollo 10 lunar module got the nickname “Snoopy” because his job was to snoop and scout the Apollo 11 landing site on the moon, according to NASA.
A Snoopy plushie first flew into space in 1990 aboard the shuttle Columbia.
A pen nib used by Schulz from the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, Calif., will join the Artemis I mission, wrapped in a space-themed comic strip. And a plush Snoopy toy will fly as a weightlessness indicator in the capsule.
The agency has long used toys in space as weightlessness indicators – so named because they begin to float once the spacecraft enters zero gravity.
As part of NASA’s collaboration with the European Space Agency, which provided the service module for Orion, a small Shaun the Sheep toy will also be a passenger on Artemis. The character is part of a children’s show derived from the “Wallace and Gromit” series.
Four Lego minifigures will also roll in Orion as part of an ongoing partnership between NASA and The Lego Group, hoping to engage children and adults in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.
The official Artemis I flight kit, which includes thousands of itemsholds a variety of patches, pins and flags to share with those who contributed to the maiden flight once the capsule touched down in the Pacific Ocean in October.
A number of items — such as space science badges from the Girl Scouts of America, digitized student visions of lunar exploration from the German Space Agency, and digital entries from the Artemis Moon Pod Essay Contest — honor contributions from interested students and teachers. in STEM.
A variety of tree and plant seeds will be on board, a nod to a similar tradition that began during the Apollo 14 mission. The seeds were then planted and became “Moon Trees” as part of an experiment aimed at understanding the effects of the space environment on seeds. NASA will share the Artemis seeds with teachers and educational organizations once the capsule returns.
Several Apollo artifacts are included, including an Apollo 8 commemorative medallion, an Apollo 11 mission patch, a bolt from one of Apollo 11’s F-1 engines, and a small moon rock collected during Apollo 11 that also flew aboard the last space shuttle. flight. The objects were shared by the National Air and Space Museum, which will feature them in an exhibit upon their return.
Cultural pieces will also be on the flight. A 3D printed replica of the Greek goddess Artemis will join the space journey and will later be displayed at the Greek Museum of the Acropolis. The European Space Agency has shared a postcard of Georges Méliès’ famous artwork “A Trip to the Moon” for the flight kit.
And the Israeli Space Agency has donated a pebble from Earth’s lowest dry land surface, the shore of the Dead Sea, to travel on Artemis 1, a flight that will venture farther than any what human has not gone before.