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NASA names new moon landing program Artemis after Apollo's sister

By Robert Z. Pearlman
May 14, 2019, 3:03:34 PM EDT

Half a century after NASA sent men to the moon under project "Apollo," the space agency is now working to land men — and women — on the lunar surface as part of its "Artemis" program.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine revealed the new moniker on Monday (May 13) during a call with reporters that was primarily focused on the budget for the newly named moon program.

"It turns out that Apollo had a twin sister, Artemis. She happens to be the goddess of the moon," said Bridenstine, referring to Greek mythology. "Our astronaut office is very diverse and highly qualified. I think it is very beautiful that 50 years after Apollo, the Artemis program will carry the next man — and the first woman — to the moon."

moon landing new

Artist’s concept of a future moon landing carried out under NASA's newly named Artemis program. The space agency is working to return men and send the first women to the lunar surface by 2024, as has been directed by the White House.(Image: © NASA)

The Artemis program, which was previously only referred to by its component names — including the Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket, Orion crew vehicle and Gateway lunar outpost— began when President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1 in 2017, directing NASA to return astronauts to the moon.

Two years later, in March 2019, Vice President Mike Pence further defined the program by announcing a five-year deadline for the first crewed lunar landing. The 2024 mission, he said, should land at the south pole with the "first woman and the next man on the moon."

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