This is an extraordinary day … It’s historic because we are now going back into space — deep space — with a new generation.NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, from Mission Control in Houston, Texas, as the Orion capsule successfully returned to Earth from its orbit around the Moon.
The Artemis I Orion capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday after completing a 25-day trip around the moon. The splashdown marks the success of the first mission in NASA's Artemis Program, in which it plans to establish a long-term presence on the Moon and eventually send a crewed mission to Mars.
Why It Matters: NASA is now on track for Artemis II to head to the Moon in 2024 with four astronauts on board. This mission "would be followed by a two-person lunar landing as early as 2025," The Associated Press reports. The last time astronauts walked on the moon was exactly 50 years ago from yesterday – December 11, 1972.
Also on Sunday, a private, Tokyo-based company launched a rover to the moon which is set to “make a soft lunar landing next spring — the first ever for a Japanese-built spacecraft” (Space.com).
Learn more about NASA's Artemis Program HERE
by Jenna Lee,