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NASA reveals details of its Artemis mission to get first woman on the moon

NASA is heading back to the moon for the first time since 1972 in a mission that could serve as a stepping stone to Mars.


NASA's Advanced Concepts Laboratory released this illustration of lunar dust.


In 2024, if NASA's plans come to fruition, a woman will walk on the surface of the moon. NASA announced the plan last year, but offered an update Monday to its Artemis program, laying out steps to send astronauts back to the moon for the first time since 1972. 

The plan includes pairing the powerful Space Launch System rocket with an Orion spacecraft in an unmanned test flight next year. That mission will be called Artemis I. Artemis II will launch in 2023 with astronauts aboard who will fully test Orion's navigational prowess. All of this will lead up to Artemis III in 2024. 

Artemis III will lay the groundwork for longer lunar missions and more surface exploration. NASA is sending scientific equipment ahead of time, and the spacesuits are more flexible than their Apollo predecessors. 

The plan involves gradually building up infrastructure on the surface, including a potential base camp. From the base camp, astronauts and rovers could search for and potentially extract resources such as water.