When the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule, scheduled to take off on August 29, blast off on a journey beyond the moon, the spacecraft will carry some special items on board.
Inside Orion will be three models, toys, and even Amazon Alexa, along with historical and educational items.
The commander’s position has sensors behind the seat and headrest to track acceleration and vibration for the duration of the mission, which is expected to last about 42 days. The model will also wear the new Orion Crew Survival System suit designed for astronauts to wear during launch and return. The suit has two radiation sensors.
Two “Ghost” named Helga and Zohar will ride in Orion’s other seats. This model torso is made of materials that simulate the soft tissues, organs and bones of a woman. The two trunks contain more than 5,600 sensors and 34 radiation detectors to measure the amount of radiation exposure that occurs during the mission.
The goal of Callisto, named after an Artemis fishing host from Greek mythology, is to show how astronauts and flight controllers can use technology to make their jobs safer and more efficient while humans explore deep space.
Callisto will ride along Orion’s center console. The touch-screen tablet will share video and audio directly between the spacecraft and the Johnson Space Center’s Mission Control Center in Houston.
play in space
Snoopy and space go together. The beloved character created by Charles M. Schulze has been associated with NASA missions since the Apollo program, when Schulze drew comic strips showing Snoopy on the Moon. The Apollo 10 lunar rover got the nickname “Snoopy” because its job was to spy and explore the Apollo 11 lunar landing site, according to NASA.
Snoopy’s plush first flew into space in 1990 aboard the Columbia shuttle.
The pen tip used by Schulze of the Charles M. Schulze Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California, will join the Artemis I mission, wrapped in a space comic strip. And the plush Snoopy will fly as a zero-gravity indicator in the capsule.
The agency has a long history of using toys in space as zero-gravity indicators – so named because they begin to float as soon as the spacecraft enters zero-gravity.
As part of NASA’s collaboration with the European Space Agency, which provided the service module for Orion, the Shaun the Sheep mini-game will also be an Artemis passenger. The character is part of a children’s show from the series “Wallace and Gromit”.
Four Lego minifigures will also ride in Orion as part of an ongoing partnership between NASA and the Lego Group, hoping to engage children and adults in STEM education.
A number of items—such as space science badges from the Girl Scouts of America, student digital insights to moon exploration from the German Space Agency and digital entries from the Artemis Moon Pod essay competition—honor the contributions of students and educators through an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
An assortment of tree and plant seeds will be on board the ship in a nod to a similar tradition that began during the Apollo 14 mission. The seeds were later planted and became “moon trees” as part of an experiment to understand the effects of the space environment on the seeds. NASA will share the Artemis seed with teachers and educational institutions once the capsule returns.
Several Apollo items are present in the flight, including the Apollo 8 Commemorative Medal, the Apollo 11 mission patch, a lightning bolt from one of the Apollo 11 F-1 engines and a small moon rock collected during Apollo 11 that also flew aboard the space shuttle’s last flight. The items have been shared by the National Air and Space Museum, which will display them in an exhibition once they return.
Cultural pieces will be on board, too. A 3D-printed replica of the Greek goddess Artemis will join the space flight and will later be on display at the Acropolis Museum in Greece. The European Space Agency has shared a postcard from Georges Miller’s acclaimed “Journey to the Moon” for the flight kit.
And the Israel Space Agency has donated a pebble from the lowest dry surface on Earth, the Dead Sea Shore, to travel on Artemis 1, a journey that will venture more than any human has ever gone before.