NASA’s Artemis program is an effort to place astronauts on the lunar surface and develop an ongoing presence there. The program’s name is derived from Artemis, the Greek goddess of the moon and twin sister to Apollo, whose namesake program first brought crews to our natural satellite 50 years ago.
The Artemis program is a renaming of several earlier activities NASA was already undertaking to return humans to the moon. These were mandated by President Trump’s Space Policy Directive 1, which tasked the agency with focusing on missions to the moon. Earlier this year, vice president Mike Pence set an ambitious deadline to land humans at the lunar south pole by 2024.
On May 14, 2019, these endeavors were given the new moniker Artemis. Jim Bridenstine, the space agency’s administrator, told reporters on the day of the announcement that the name represents the program’s goal of inclusion, referencing the fact that NASA intends to land the first woman on the moon under its current plans.
“I have a daughter who is 11 years old, and I want her to be able to see herself in the same role as the next women [who] go to the moon see themselves in today,” Bridenstine said.