Artemis 1: NASA rocket prepares for trip to moon

NASA's new moon mission could put humans on the moon as early as 2025 for the first time in over half a century, ITV News' Martha Fairlie reports.

Nasa is poised to take the first step in a plan to send humans back to the Moon as Artemis 1 prepares to launch next week.

The first in a series of rockets that will head to the moon on August 29, Artemis 1 will not host a crew but subsequent missions to the Moon will.

The mission will demonstrate the performance of the SLS rocket and test the Orion spacecraft's capabilities over the course of about six weeks as it travels about 40,000 miles beyond the Moon and back to Earth. 

Artemis 2, which is scheduled to depart Earth in 2024, after the initial unmanned craft returns, will have a human crew but they won't be stepping foot on the natural satellite.

That honour is being saved for the crew of Artemis 3, who in 2025 could be the first people to walk on the moon in around 50 years.

It's also scheduled to see the first woman and first person of colour to the Moon.

The Artemis programme is expected to cost around £22 billion and it is hoped that it will lead to the construction of a long-term human base on the moon.

NASA Artemis rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard stands on pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center. Credit: AP

When the astronauts take to the stars it is expected that they will remain in space for 30 days.

Nasa has plans for the crew of Artemis 3 to land on the Moon's South Pole - a region that has yet to be visited by humans.

Experts have plotted the expedition in the hopes that they will be able to study the surface, including sampling water deposits.

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