'We are ready:' New NASA documentary looks ahead to Artemis 2 moon mission (video)

All necks will be craned toward the heavens next year when NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket blasts the Artemis 2 mission toward the moon.

Artemis 2 will launch four astronauts around the moon in September 2025, if all goes according to plan. It will be the first crewed effort beyond Earth orbit since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972 — and it wouldn't have been possible without the success of Artemis 1 in late 2022.

Artemis 1 sent an uncrewed Orion capsule to lunar orbit and back, a historic achievement celebrated in a new 12-minute mini-documentary from NASA titled "Artemis: Success and Preparation."

Related: The 10 greatest images from NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission

A portion of the far side of the moon looms large just beyond the Orion spacecraft in this image taken on the sixth day of the Artemis 1 mission by a camera on the tip of one of Orion’s solar arrays.  (Image credit: NASA)

Here's the official video description:

"At 1:47 a.m. EST (6:47 UTC) on  Nov. 16, 2022, NASA's Orion spacecraft launched atop the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket from historic Launch Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on a path to the moon, officially beginning the Artemis 1 mission. 

"Over the course of 25.5 days, Orion performed two lunar flybys, coming within 80 miles (129 kilometers) of the lunar surface. At its farthest distance during the mission, Orion traveled nearly 270,000 miles (435,000 kilometers) from our home planet. NASA's Orion spacecraft successfully completed a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean [on Dec. 11] at 9:40 a.m. PST (12:40 p.m. EST) as the final major milestone of the Artemis 1 mission. 

"Artemis 1 set new records of performance, exceeded efficiency expectations, and established new safety baselines for humans in deep space. This is a prelude to what comes next — following the success of Artemis 1, human beings will fly around the moon on Artemis 2."

Written and directed by Paul Wizikowski in collaboration with cinematographer and editor Phil Sexton, the "Success and Preparation" short is one of the finest NASA videos prepared to date and embodies the spirit and determination of the entire Artemis program.  

"By building incrementally these capabilities, and proving these capabilities that we have through the Artemis campaign, we will be able to live on the moon and perform science that is very important for deep space exploration," Orion Program Manager Howard Hu said in the featurette. "We are ready for Artemis 2."

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.