NASA's Artemis I mission to send an Orion spacecraft around the moon is getting more real by the moment. First, . Now the mission's non-human passenger, or "moonikin," needs a name.
The space agency announced a Name the Artemis Moonikin Challenge to decide what the man-shaped manikin will be called. The uncrewed flight test is targeting takeoff for later this year. The manikin will allow NASA to collect data on how the journey might impact a real human body.
NASA has already narrowed the names to eight possibilities: Ace, Wargo, Delos, Duhart, Campos, Shackleton, Montgomery and Rigel. Each name has significance. Ace stands for "Artemis Crew Explorer." Duhart would be dedicated to Irene Duhart Long, chief medical officer at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
The "Montgomery" isn't for USS Enterprise chief engineer Montgomery Scott of Star Trek fame. It's a tribute to Julius Montgomery, the first African American to work as a technical professional at the Cape Canaveral space facility.
The names will go up for a vote on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in a bracket-style challenge starting on June 16. The final vote will take place on June 28 with the official name announcement coming on June 29.
"The manikin on Artemis I will be equipped with two radiation sensors, and sensors in the seat -- one under the headrest and another behind the seat -- to record acceleration and vibration throughout the mission as Orion travels around the Moon and back to Earth," NASA said in a statement on Tuesday.
The moonikin won't be entirely alone. It will have two model human torsos, which NASA calls "phantoms," "made from materials that mimic human bones, soft tissues and organs of an adult female." NASA's longer-term plans are to send the first woman and first person of color to the moon, but it will first need Artemis I to prove SLS and Orion are working as designed.
The phantoms already have names: Zolgar and Helga. Will they be joined by Rigel or Wargo? That's up to space fans to decide.
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