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Front Page Talking Points

FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 15, 2023

Meet our newest space travelers, training for a 2024 adventure around the moon

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1.gifSummarize other science or tech coverage and include an amazing fact.

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

3.gifRead another piece of distant news – from here on Earth – and show where it's from on a map or globe.

For the first time in over half a century, America's space agency is training a crew of astronauts who'll head toward the moon. NASA recently introduced three men and a woman picked for a 2024 mission called Artemis 2. They'll be the first humans to fly beyond low-Earth orbit since 1972. A flight planned for late next year, the second in a three-part mission, will circle the moon without a landing.

The crew members are commander Reid Wiseman, pilot Victor Glover and mission specialists Christina Koch and Jeremy Hansen. The first three are NASA astronauts, while Hansen is from the Canadian Space Agency. Their 10-day flight will launch on Space Launch System rockets that are taller than the Statue of Liberty, will test a gumdrop-shaped Orion capsule's life-support systems, and will validate the capabilities and techniques needed to live and work in deep space.

Last fall, an unmanned Artemis 1 mission tested the Orion spacecraft in Earth orbit and then on a circuit around the moon, which is about 280,000 miles from our planet. NASA hopes to land different crew members on the moon by 2025 during an Artemis 3 voyage. The ultimate goal is to set up a long-term Artemis Base Camp base for use by astronauts on the way to Mars. "The moon is a great place to develop and test hardware, and to train astronauts," explains former space shuttle commander Leroy Chiao.

Scientists eventually expect to use findings from Mars to answer questions about how the solar system formed. 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 director says: "This mission paves the way for the expansion of human deep space exploration and presents new opportunities for scientific discoveries, commercial, industry and academic partnerships." -- Vanessa Wyche

Astronaut says: "Just flying on any of these missions is an enormous thing. It's fantastic. I love the idea of going out past the moon. Watching our astronaut colleagues walk on the moon [in 2025] will be a success for us." – Reid Wiseman, Artemis 2 commander

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

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2023

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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.