Snoopy, mannequins and Apollo 11 items will travel near the moon aboard Artemis I


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While NASA’s Artemis I mission will travel without a human crew, that doesn’t mean the Orion spacecraft will be empty.

When the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule, scheduled to lift off on November 16, set off on a journey beyond the moon, the spacecraft will carry some special items on board.

Inside Orion will also be three mannequins, toys and Amazon Alexa, along with historical and educational items.

The mission, which will kick off the Artemis program, with the goal of eventually returning humans to the moon, continues a tradition of carrying memorabilia from NASA spaceships dating back to the 1960s. The tradition includes the Voyager probe’s gold disk and the Perseverance rover’s 10.9 million microchip. Artemis I will carry 120 kilograms of souvenirs and other items in the official flight kit.

Sitting in the Orion commander’s seat will be Commander Moonikin Campos, a suitable mannequin that can collect data on what a future human crew might experience on a trip to the moon. Its name, chosen through a public competition, is a nod to Arturo Campos, the NASA electrical subsystem manager who helped Apollo 13 return to Earth.

The commander’s station has sensors behind the seat and headrest to track acceleration and vibration for the duration of the mission, which is expected to last 25.5 days. The mannequin will also wear the new Orion Crew Survival System suit designed to be worn by astronauts during launch and re-entry. The suit has two radiation sensors.

Commander Moonikin Campos will ride aboard the Artemis I in his data collection suit.

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 trunks contain more than 5,600 sensors and 34 radiation detectors to measure how much radiation exposure occurs during the mission.

The mannequins are part of the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment, a collaboration between the German Aerospace Center, the Israel Space Agency, NASA and organizations from several countries. Zohar will wear the AstroRad, a radiation protection vest, to test how effective it might be if future crews encounter a solar storm.

The Zohar mannequin will wear a protective vest called AstroRad.

It will accompany Amazon’s Alexa as a technology showcase developed between Lockheed Martin, Amazon and Cisco. The tech demo, called Callisto, features reconfigured versions of Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, and Cisco’s teleconferencing platform Webex to test how these apps work in space.

Callisto’s goal, named after one of the hunting assistants of Artemis in Greek mythology, is to show how astronauts and flight controllers can use technology to make their jobs safer and more efficient as humans explore deep space.

Callisto will ride on Orion’s center console. The touchscreen tablet will share video and audio directly between the spacecraft and the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center 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 that featured Snoopy on the moon. The Apollo 10 lunar module was nicknamed “Snoopy” because its job was to survey the Apollo 11 lunar landing site, according to NASA.

Snoopy will serve as Artemis I's zero gravity indicator.

A stuffed Snoopy first flew into space in 1990 aboard the space shuttle Columbia.

A pen used by Schulz at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California will join the Artemis I mission, wrapped in a space-themed comic book. And a Snoopy plush toy will fly in the capsule as a zero gravity indicator.

The agency has a long history of using toys in space as zero-gravity indicators — so called because they begin to float after the spacecraft enters zero gravity.

As part of NASA’s partnership with the European Space Agency, which provided the Orion service module, a small Shaun the Sheep toy will also be a passenger on Artemis. The character is part of a children’s show in the “Wallace and Gromit” series.

Shaun Ardia is pictured in front of a model of the Orion spacecraft.

Four Lego minifigures will also ride Orion as part of an ongoing partnership between NASA and the Lego Group to engage children and adults in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

The Official Artemis I Flight Kit, which includes thousands of items, includes a variety of patches, pins and flags to share with those who helped on the inaugural flight when the capsule descends in the Pacific Ocean in October.

The crew examines the Artemis I mission patches prior to flight.

Some items — such as Girl Scouts of America’s space science badges, digitized exploratory views of the moon by the German Space Agency and digital entries in the Artemis Moon Pod essay contest — honor student and teacher contributions with interest. in STEM.

Various trees and plants will be planted on board in a nod to a similar tradition started on the Apollo 14 mission. The seeds were then planted and turned into “Moon Trees” as part of an experiment to understand the effects of the space environment on seeds. NASA will share Artemis seeds with teachers and educational institutions when the capsule returns.

Several Apollo items are along for the ride, including an Apollo 8 commemorative medallion, an Apollo 11 mission patch, one of Apollo 11’s F-1 engines and a small moon rock collected during Apollo 11 that also flew on the last space shuttle. the flight The items were shared by the National Air and Space Museum, which will present them in an exhibit upon their return.

Apollo 11's F-1 thruster will fly atop Artemis I.

There will also be cultural pieces on the flight. A 3D-printed replica of the goddess Artemis will enter space travel and later be displayed at the Acropolis Museum in Greece. The European Space Agency shared a postcard of Georges Méliès’ famous artwork “A Trip to the Moon” for the flight kit.

And the Israel Space Agency gifted a pebble at the lowest land surface on Earth, on the shores of the Dead Sea, to travel on Artemis 1, a flight that will go farther than any human has ever ventured.