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TORONTO, Ontario — Right now, you can sign up online to get a "boarding pass" for the Artemis I mission, which is expected to blast off and orbit the moon this May or June.
Every seat is free, in a way. Artemis I will be an uncrewed test flight for future lunar missions. Signing up with NASA gets your name added to a flash drive aboard the unoccupied crew capsule, and a flashy digital boarding pass as proof.
Powered by NASA's most powerful rocket to date, the Space Launch System, the Artemis I mission will see the uncrewed Orion spacecraft take off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and spend several days circling the moon before returning to earth. If all goes according to plan, the Artemis 2 mission will perform a crewed lunar flyby in 2024.
The ultimate goal of the Artemis program is to put humans back on the moon by 2025, which is 53 years after the last crewed lunar mission, Apollo 17. In Greek mythology, Artemis fittingly is Apollo's twin sister and the moon's goddess.
As part of the program, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the lunar surface, where it also plans to work with international and commercial partners to create a long-term human presence and use those lessons to take astronauts to Mars.
NASA has launched names before, like in 2020 when nearly 11 million names were installed on the Mars Perseverance rover, which continues to crawl around the red planet.
Signing up to put your name aboard Artemis I is quick and easy. As a bonus, you earn 1.3 million novelty miles, or 2.1 million km, which is the total distance the Artemis 1 mission will travel.