Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and the American flag on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission July 20, 1969. NASA hopes too return humans to the lunar surface by 2024, including the first-ever woman.
Photo: NASA
Photo: NASA

2024 moon mission named Artemis after moon goddess, Apollo’s twin in Greek mythology

Artemis, the moon goddess and Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology, is a befitting name for NASA’s latest lunar mission, which plans to put the first woman on the moon by 2024.

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NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the mission name Monday during a conference call with reporters, according to CNN.

"I think it is very beautiful that 50 years after Apollo, the Artemis program will carry the next man and first woman to the moon," Bridenstine said. “I have a daughter who is 11 years old, and I want her to be able to see herself in the same role as the next women that go to the Moon.”

The Artemis mission comes decades after the Apollo 11 mission, when Lunar Module Eagle successfully ferried Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969.

>> Related: NASA: Moon is shrinking, experiencing ‘moonquakes’

"To land American astronauts on the Moon by 2024, we are working through the acquisition approach for the various projects," NASA said in a statement. 

"Our efforts will include new work at NASA centers to provide the key technologies and scientific payloads needed for the lunar surface, adding to efforts already underway across the country," the space agency said.

The new lunar project also got a $1.6 billion cash infusion with President Donald Trump’s announcement Monday that he submitted an amendment to the 2020 fiscal year budget request for the extra money "so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!" 

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"Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars," Trump said on social media.

The money will “help NASA implement a sustainable, open, long-term program of lunar exploration,” the agency said in a statement. 

Congress still has to approve the budget.

In describing the new moon mission, Space Policy Directive -1, in 2017, NASA officials called it an “innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system.”

>> Related: Chinese spacecraft makes historic landing on dark side of moon 

NASA plans to send new science instruments and technologies to the moon ahead of a 2024 human flight and said on its website that could begin happening by the end of 2019.

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