Artemis 1 lunar dummies unpacked from the Orion spacecraft (photos)

The supply of late lunar holidays is already on its way to scientists.

Three dummies that flew to and from the moon aboard NASA’s Orion capsule late last year are now returning home to their labs. The trio participated in the agency’s Artemis 1 mission, which launched on November 16 on a powerful Space Launch System rocket and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on December 11.

Commander Munikin Campos, named after an Apollo 13 engineer, was placed in a packing crate at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 10 with their German counterparts, Helga and Zohar, exit the spacecraft a day later on January 1st. eleven.

The next stop for Campos will be NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, while the German Space Agency’s (DLR) twin dummies will fly overseas. The radiation and acceleration data of the dummies will be carefully examined to see how well the Orion spacecraft will protect humans during future missions to the Moon in the late 2020s.

Related: NASA Artemis Program: Everything You Need to Know

The researchers wanted to make sure Orion was ready to launch astronauts around the moon, which will happen as part of the Artemis 2 mission, which is scheduled to launch in 2024. So they put three dummies for Artemis 1 into the Orion.

On a recent mission, Orion traveled to a high-radiation zone nearly 270,000 miles (435,000 kilometers) from Earth. It’s an environment only a handful of Apollo astronauts ever encountered in the 1960s and 1970s, when measuring instruments weren’t as accurate as today’s generation.

Indeed, Orion went further than any human spacecraft ever before, breaking the distance record set by Apollo 13 in April 1970.

Related: Artemis 1 to help NASA protect astronauts from deep space radiation

German Space Agency dummies Zohar (foreground) and Helga are unpacked from the Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. November 11, 2023. Two Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE) dummies measured radiation during a mission to the Moon, with Zohar wearing a protective vest from Israeli partner StemRad and Helga doing without it. (Image credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

To evaluate the radiation and mitigation efforts, the DLR dummy Zohar wore a protective vest from Israeli partner StemRad, with Helga flying without it to serve as a control.

Munikin Campos also wore dual radiation sensors, as well as a set of acceleration sensors under the seat and headrest. Additional sensors measured gravity loads during launch, landing, and other critical mission events for human safety.

NASA is expected to name the Artemis 2 crew in early 2023, and at least one of them will be a foreigner: a Canadian Space Agency astronaut will get a seat thanks to the contribution of the Canadarm3 robotic arm to NASA’s planned Gateway orbital station.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is also expected to secure a few spots at Artemis, but it’s not yet known how soon. It is planned that the first amphibious mission of the Artemis-3 program will take place no earlier than 2025.

Elizabeth Howell is co-author of Why Am I Taller? (will open in a new tab)? (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), space medicine book. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace. (will open in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (will open in a new tab) or facebook (will open in a new tab).

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