The first humans to head to the Moon in over 50 years.

Fantastic Four

NASA has announced the astronauts who will fly to the Moon during the space agency's upcoming Artemis II mission, the first humans to head to the Moon in more than 50 years.

The mission will involve a crew of four flying to and around the Moon before making their way back to Earth, an exciting next step in our efforts to eventually return humans to the lunar surface before the end of the decade — if everything goes according to plan, that is.

The team of four includes some notable names. NASA astronaut and pilot Victor Glover, who has flown to space three times, including a ride onboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon mission, is among the four. So is Reid Wiseman, commander and NASA astronaut, who flew to space for the first time in 2011, as well as Christina Koch, who has spent a cumulative 328 days in space, and Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen, who hasn't flown to space yet, but could become the first non-American to fly to the Moon, as points out.

Wiseman, Glover, Hansen, and Koch

The mission is scheduled to launch late next year aboard NASA's Orion spacecraft, which will be sent up by the agency's plagued Space Launch System rocket.

Over ten days, the crew will technically never actually enter the Moon's orbit, but will instead remain in the Earth's gravity well as it makes its flyby and "hybrid free return," which will involve using the Moon's gravity to slingshot the capsule around its far side and back to Earth.

The crew will also be testing Orion's life support and navigation systems before embarking on their mission.

Following up Artemis II will be the first attempt to land astronauts on the lunar surface near the south pole, an even more ambitious mission tentatively slated for December 2025 — again, if everything goes according to plan.

As Artemis I, which successfully launched an uncrewed Orion capsule to the Moon and back, demonstrated, NASA is serious about its ambitions to land the first astronauts on the Moon for the first time since its Apollo 17 mission just over 50 years ago.

So it only makes sense to pack the first crewed mission with some of the most experienced individuals in the business.

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