Houston Matters

How The Artemis Program Will Get Us Back To The Moon — Then Mars

Houston Matters producer Joshua Zinn takes us inside the Orion capsule to learn how NASA’s next missions to the moon will eventually lead to Mars.

Artemis Human Landing System
A mock-up of the Artemis Program landing on the moon.


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Under the directive of the Trump administration, NASA has been tasked with landing astronauts back on the moon by the year 2024. That would be the first time since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

From there, the space agency will use these new moon missions as a stepping stone to a much more difficult mission — to put boots on Mars.

Enter the Artemis Program, which will be executed in three parts over the next five years to land our next lunar astronauts on the moon's south pole.

Orion Capsule Infographic
An explanation of the Orion capsule’s role in returning humans to the moon and beyond.

One of the major components of accomplishing this is the Orion capsule, which is the spacecraft that will take the crew up to another craft that orbits the moon, called the Lunar Gateway.

Houston Matters producer Joshua Zinn recently visited the Johnson Space Center to find out more about the Artemis Program and was able to sit inside a scale mock-up of Orion in the center's Space Vehicle Mockup Facility.

There, NASA’s John McCullough explains the three phases of the Artemis Program and how these missions will lead to Mars.

You can hear their conversation in the audio above.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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