The story of Artemis--and the lunar hunt

The goddess of the hunt... a good omen for a moon mission?
The goddess of the hunt... a good omen for a moon mission?
It is difficult to jump up and down over NASA's plans to return to the moon, but at least the space agency has named the mission for the Greek goddess Artemis.

    NASA has announced a selection of companies that will produce human lander prototypes for the program, which will put the first woman and the next man on the moon's south pole by 2024. It's part of a long-term project expanding the U.S. footprint on lunar dust -- or, as put by NASA, enabling sustainable missions by 2028.
  Scientists are good at coming up with clever acronyms, and someone at NASA must stay up at night thinking about these things. The project in which scientists are examining melting ice in Greenland is called: Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG). A robotic spacecraft involved in the Mars exploration is the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (INSIGHT).
    But Artemis is simply named for a Greek goddess. Here's the rundown on who she is:

    Who was she? In Greek mythology, Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the moon. The Romans called this goddess Diana, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. 

    What was her story? She was the daughter of Zeus and Leto -- child of the Titans. In Edith Hamilton's classic, Mythology, Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, Artemis is described as "lover of the woods and the wild chase over the mountain."  As put by Hamilton, "She was the Lady of Wild Things, huntsman in chief to the gods, an odd office for a woman."

     Why Artemis? Well, it could be argued that any trip into space is a wild chase. But NASA says the goddess "personifies our path to the moon as the name of NASA's program to return astronauts to the lunar surface by 2024, including the first woman and the next man. When they land, our American astronauts will step foot where no human has ever been before: the moon’s south pole," according to the space agency.

     What is the long-term goal? It's not just that NASA wants to go back to the moon. The space agency has ambitious goals. It wants to "uncover new scientific discoveries, demonstrate new technological advancements, and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy."


      NASA plans return to the moon -- to stay

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