Legos and Seeds: Check Out the Artemis 1 Moon Mission’s Official Flight Kit
Bags of metal shavings, various tree seeds, and four Lego minifigs are among the items set to take flight on NASA’s first Artemis I launch attempt.
While NASA’s first Artemis I launch attempt—scheduled for between Aug. 29 and Sept. 5—may be uncrewed, it won’t be unoccupied.
The agency has unveiled its Official Flight Kit, a cultural and educational “time capsule” that will be placed in the Orion spacecraft that’s headed for a journey around the Moon.
“Many of the items included in the flight kit are symbols of cultural significance or NASA’s collaborative efforts with STEM-focused organizations,” the agency says. That includes a set of Girl Scouts space science badges, four Lego mini-figures, and digitized entries from NASA’s Artemis Moon Pod student essay contest.
Boosted by the Space Launch System rocket on its maiden voyage, Orion will carry 120 pounds of what NASA calls “a host of mementos for educational engagement and posterity.” Items like mini Artemis I patches and tree seeds will fly to the cosmos and, upon their return to Earth, be handed out to participants in NASA’s annual Artemis Student Challenges program.
Also on the packing list:
- A pen nib used by Charles M. Schulz, signifying the seven-decade association between NASA and Schulz, whose comics often depicted Snoopy on the Moon.
- A plush Shaun the Sheep from the European Space Agency, which previously took the cartoon character on its parabolic flight campaign.
- A 3D-printed replica of Greek goddess Artemis—after whom the mission is named—that will later go on display in the Acropolis Museum in Greece.
- A pebble from the shore of the Dead Sea (the lowest dry land surface on Earth), provided by the Israel Space Agency.
- Digitized versions of student visions of lunar exploration from the German Space Agency.
- An Apollo 8 commemorative medallion, Apollo 11 bolt, and Apollo 11 mission patch, contributed by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
- A variety of flags, patches, and pins to be distributed after the mission to stakeholders and employees who contributed to the flight.
NASA spacecraft have a long history of carrying mementos from Earth. The 1977 Voyager probe transported a gold record with Earth sounds; metal flown on the final space shuttle mission in 2011 was melted down and made into awards for employees; and, most recently, the Perseverance rover landed on Mars with a microchip of 10.9 million names submitted for the journey.
NASA’s first launch attempt for Artemis 1 is scheduled for the morning of Aug. 29. If successful, the mission will last approximately 42 days, with a targeted Orion splashdown on Oct. 10. There are two backup opportunities for takeoff on Sept. 2 and 5. It will serve as a major test of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft.
The Artemis effort as a whole is described by NASA as “the first step in the next era of human exploration.” The agency and its partners intend to establish a more sustainable presence on the Moon as it preps for missions to Mars.
Originally published at https://www.pcmag.com.