Editor's update for 12 pm ET: NASA and the Canadian Space Agency have officially unveiled the four-person crew of the Artemis 2 mission to the moon, the first crewed flight to the moon since NASA's Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Read our full Artemis 2 crew announcement story to learn who they are.
We'll soon learn the identities of the first four people to journey to lunar realms in half a century.
Today (April 3), NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will jointly announce the names of the four individuals flying on the Artemis 2 mission. Events will stream live from Ellington Field, near NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT).
Artemis 2 is slated to launch no sooner than November 2024 on a trip around the moon. It'll be the first time any human has come close to the moon since Apollo 17 went to the lunar surface in December 1972. The Artemis program will include more representation, NASA has pledged, including the first woman and the first person of color on moon missions.
Live updates: NASA's Artemis 2 mission to the moon
Related: NASA's Artemis program: Everything you need to know
There is speculation about who is on board Artemis 2, but nothing has been officially confirmed at this time. Canada has four astronauts to choose from, while NASA lists more than 40 active individuals.
The NASA-led Artemis 2 brings in international partners via the Artemis Accords, currently signed by 23 nations including Canada. The country has been supplying Canadarm and other robotics for the American space program for more than 40 years. The CSA earned its seat on Artemis 2 by pledging, via the company MDA, a future Canadarm3 robotic arm to service NASA's planned Gateway space station in lunar orbit.
Artemis 2 represents the first time that NASA has been able to gain bipartisan political support and fully fund any crewed moon mission since the days of Apollo, after other presidential administrations tried and failed.
The Artemis program renamed and accelerated activities that NASA was undertaking in the 2010s to return humans to the moon. Then-President Donald Trump's Space Policy Directive 1 in 2019 tasked the agency with focusing on lunar missions, and current President Joe Biden committed to continuing with Artemis. The first crewed landing mission of the program, Artemis 3, aims to put people down near the moon's south pole in 2025 or thereabouts.
The Artemis 2 hardware has mostly been tested in space already, via the uncrewed Artemis 1, which flew three mannequins and the Orion spacecraft around the moon in late 2022 and saw the huge Space Launch System rocket ace its debut liftoff.
Artemis 3 is awaiting surface spacesuits from Axiom Space, which saw a partial reveal weeks ago, along with the Starship landing system from SpaceX that may be tested in orbit as soon as next month.
Revealing Canada's first moon astronaut will be the second big announcement for the Canadian government in recent days. In late March, while Biden was visiting Canada, the CSA committed to extending its International Space Station participation to 2030. NASA, the European Space Agency and Japan have all previously agreed to the six-year extension, while Russia may leave earlier to pursue other projects.
Updated March 30, 9:45 a.m. to include CSA streaming information.
Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of "Why Am I Taller?" (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book about space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace