NASA’s historic Artemis I around-the-moon mission could launch. There won’t be any humans on board, but there will be a lot of objects, including manikins (“ “) and stop-motion animation TV character . On Wednesday, NASA announced the contents of the Official Flight Kit, a cultural and educational “time capsule” that will be in the Orion spacecraft as it reaches for the moon.
“Many of the items included in the flight kit are symbols of cultural significance or NASA’s collaborative efforts with STEM-focused organizations,” said NASA in a statement. That includes a set of for Girl Scouts.
There are some notable items among the 120 pounds (54 kilograms) of mementos. A small piece of moon rock from the Apollo 11 mission will ride along. That same rock was on board the last space shuttle flight, so it’s already very well traveled. NASA said it’ll mark the significance of the return of a spacecraft built for humans to the moon. A patch and a bolt from Apollo 11 will also help connect the Apollo legacy to the Artemis program.
You can check out the full Official Flight Kit list (PDF link). There are a lot of patches, flags and pins, including 245 silver Snoopy pins. NASA has had a long association with the Peanuts comics created by Charles Schulz, and particularly with the dog character Snoopy. Those silver pins are a mark of prestige, given out by NASA astronauts to deserving aerospace employees for “outstanding performance, contributing to flight safety and mission success.”
Keeping with the Peanuts theme, Artemis I will carry a pen nib used by Schulz. Other fun items in the kit are four Lego minifigures, a 3D-printed statue of the Greek goddess Artemis, various tree and plant seeds and a pebble from the Dead Sea.
Artemis I is the first major step in NASA’s efforts to get humans back to the surface of the moon, and to eventually establish a longer-term presence at our lunar neighbor. All eyes will be on the powerful Space Launch System rocket and the Orion capsule to see if they can get the Artemis era started on the right foot by launching and then bringing all these mementos back safely.