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spaceSpace and Physics

10,000 Items Are Flying To The Moon On Artemis I And Some Of Them Are… Curious

From manikins that look a little NSFW to Snoopy, there are some odd items set to beat humans back to the Moon.

author

Katy Evans

Managing Editor

clockAug 31 2022, 13:29 UTC
Two female-shaped manikins are covered in a blue tightfabric with multiple straps that are actually radiation vests but look a little like bondage gear
Meet Helga and Zohar, two "female" manikins traveling to space to test out some rather snazzy radiation vests possibly styled on bondage gear. Image credit: NASA/Frank Michaux

Hope is not lost that Artemis I, NASA’s historic mission to kick off the next stage of going back to the Moon, will fly this week. Although it is an uncrewed mission, there are some very eager passengers on board, including Snoopy, Shaun the Sheep, and some very NSFW-looking manikins.

Among other things, Artemis I is an important test mission to ensure the safety of astronauts on future missions by checking things, such as that the Orion spacecraft can withstand the temperatures of reentry through Earth’s atmosphere – not something you want to try out with people onboard.

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As is a long-standing tradition for NASA missions, starting with Apollo, Artemis will also be taking mementos, commemorative items, and gifts of gratitude to all those that have made this mission possible, around 10,000 items in all.

NASA has confirmed that two items from Apollo 11, the mission that first put humans on the Moon, are onboard: a small sample of Moondust, and a piece of the rocket that enabled its collection more than 50 years ago, on loan from the Smithsonian. Neil Armstong took a piece of the Wright brothers’ Wright Flyer plane with him in 1969, so perhaps one day a piece of Artemis will fly to Mars.

Snoopy, decked out in full orange NASA Artemis astronaut uniform
Snoopy, suited and booted, will act as the gravity indicator for the mission. Image credit: 2021 Peanuts Worldwide LLC


Two female LEGO astronauts and Shaun the Sheep are flying the flag for NASA and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) educational outreach programs, while Snoopy is acting as the mission’s all-important gravity indicator. There are even 90 Girl Scout space science badges that will be awarded to the winners of a “To the Moon and Back” essay contest.

The character Shaun the Sheep (a small sheep) wearing an ESA astronaut uniform looking ready to start his mission
Shaun the Sheep has undergone extensive astronaut training at ESA, including parabolic flight training. He was rewarded with a seat on Artemis I. Image credit: (C) ESA/Aardman


Most of the items are gifts and souvenirs that will be given to members of the space program on return to Earth, ranging from pens to lapel pins, including 2,790 Artemis I mission patches for the thousands who made this mission happen.

There are also USB drives and microchips containing poems, drawings, videos and more submitted by members of the public and collected by NASA, ESA, the Italian and German space agencies. The Israeli Space Agency is sending a pebble from the Dead Sea and tree seeds while ESA is including a 3D-printed model of the Greek goddess Artemis.

Our favorite, however, has to be the manikins apparently decked out in blue bondage gear. Meet Helga and Zohar, two "female" manikin torsos made up of materials that mimic adult female bones, tissue, and organs. Part of the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE), they are the first two female radiotherapy “phantoms” (as NASA calls them) to be sent on a space flight. Zohar is the one wearing the radiation protection vest. 

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We understand they are a vital component of the test mission but bondage denim is a look.


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