Record-breaking NASA astronaut Christina Koch welcomed the decade that the U.S. plans to return to the moon with a stunning moonrise photo.
Koch, who recently set the record for the longest space mission by a woman, is still aboard the International Space Station and is looking to the future. To celebrate the new year, Koch posted a stunning moonrise photo to Twitter.
“First moonrise seen from the @Space_Station in the decade we go back,” Koch wrote in her tweet.
First moonrise seen from the @Space_Station in the decade we go back. pic.twitter.com/Z10wIxnOA5January 2, 2020
This moonrise is not only the first that the astronauts are seeing this year, but also this decade. The moonrise, as Koch said, is the first glimpse of the moon in a decade in which humans expect to return to the lunar surface.
NASA’s Artemis program aims to land the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024. This will be the first crewed moon landing since NASA’s Apollo 17 mission which, in 1972, was the last mission to land astronauts on the moon. Additionally, Koch is one of 17 female astronauts who could be chosen to be a part of the first crew to land on the moon with Artemis.
Artemis is named after the Greek goddess of the moon, who is the twin sister to Apollo in Greek mythology. The program’s main goal is to return humans to the lunar surface and to develop a long-term human presence on the moon.
Within the program, NASA will additionally work with commercial partners to develop the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, a moon-orbiting station for space travelers; the Space Launch System (SLS), a giant rocket; and the Orion deep-space capsule, a spacecraft that will carry up to four astronauts to destinations like the moon or even Mars.