Front Page Talking Points


NASA revives U.S. moon launches with the first of three Artemis missions


1.gifSummarize different science or tech coverage. Include at least one gee-whiz fact.

2.gifName two school subjects that help prepare NASA mission workers for their careers.

3.gifRead another piece of distant news (earthbound this time) and show where it's from on a map.

America is returning to the moon for the first time in 50 years. The most powerful rocket ever built took off last week from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on a round-trip test flight with three mannequins (body models) instead of crew members. The nearly one-month Artemis 1 mission will test the Orion spacecraft in Earth orbit and then on circuit around the moon, which is about 280,000 miles from our planet. The gumdrop-shaped capsule, which separated from the rocket after reaching space, comes within 60 miles of the lunar surface on Monday (Nov. 21) and is scheduled to splash down Dec. 11 off San Diego, Calif.

If all goes well, NASA astronauts will ride Artemis 2 around the moon and back in 2024. Ultimately, NASA hopes to land humans back on the moon by 2025 during the Artemis 3 mission -- including the first woman and first person of color to step onto the moon. The ultimate goal is to establish a long-term Artemis Base Camp base for use by astronauts on the way to Mars. "Our experience on the moon this decade will prepare us for an even greater adventure in the universe – human exploration of Mars," the agency says at a blog post.

The three missions will advance scientific knowledge and bring us closer to exploring Mars in person, the space agency says. "The moon is a great place to develop and test hardware, and to train astronauts," explains former space shuttle commander Leroy Chiao. Critics say that rather than spending about $12 billion to send people back to the moon, NASA should focus on technologies to help with climate change and other needs on Earth.

NASA engineer says: "We need to get the [Orion] capsule back in order to inspect it and analyze it and make sure it didn't sustain any damage returning from orbit that would make it unsafe for astronauts on Artemis 2. This mission is our chance to do that." – Christine St. Germain

Former astronaut says: "I would bet on SpaceX [a private firm] to land humans on the moon before NASA." – Leroy Chiao, retired shuttle commander

Mission name origin: Artemis is named for an ancient Greek lunar goddess, the twin sister of Apollo (name of earlier U.S. moon missions that ended in 1972). She was a daughter of Zeus, chief god of the Olympians, who ruled the world from the summit of Mount Olympus.

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for, Copyright 2024

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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.