NASA has announced the names of four astronauts who will return to the Moon, one of whom will be the first Black man to do so.
According to the U.S. space agency, Victor Glover will join Reid Wiseman, Christina Koch, and Jeremy Hansen to fly a capsule around the Moon late next year or early 2025, closing a 50-year gap.
While Victor Glover and the other three astronauts won’t technically land on the Moon, their mission will ultimately pave the way for a lunar landing by a crew in the near future.
The news that three Americans and one Canadian will be the next astronauts to visit the Moon was revealed in a public ceremony in Houston, Texas.
All four will now begin intensive physical training to prepare for the upcoming lunar mission.
NASA’s selection of a person of color and a woman is consistent with the agency’s promise to increase diversity in its space exploration efforts.All previous lunar mission crews were entirely composed of white men.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson called the Artemis-2 crew “humanity’s crew.”
“The Artemis-2 crew represents thousands of people working tirelessly to bring us to the stars. This is their crew, this is our crew, this is humanity’s crew,” said Nelson.
Victor Glover, a Black man, will be the crew’s pilot, Wiseman will be the commander, while Koch and Hansen will serve as the supporting “mission specialists.”
The crew will essentially be repeating the 1968 Apollo 8 mission, which was the first human spaceflight to reach the Moon.
The last human spaceflight mission to the Moon was Apollo 17 in December 1972. The first landing was Apollo 11 in 1969.
The upcoming lunar journey will take about 10 days to go to and from the Moon.