What’s on board NASA’s Artemis I for its voyage to the moon? Snoopy, Legos and ‘manikins’

Astronauts won’t be on board NASA’s Artemis I rocket when it launches from Kennedy Space Center, but there will be some familiar faces along for the ride.

A Snoopy plush, Lego mini-figures and three NASA ‘manikins‘ will provide some very relevant data for scientists. 

According to NASA, three research test dummies, one named Commander Moonikin Campos, and two named Helga and Zohar, will take a seat in the capsule. The name Campos is a dedication to Arturo Campos, a key player in bringing Apollo 13 safely back to Earth in April 1970. 

The three mannequins won’t be alone on their ride to the moon and outer space.

NASA says they’ll be joined by research payloads that will help scientists understand how the deep space environment, including exposure to harsh radiation, can affect biological systems.  According to NASA, these investigations include various tree and plant seeds that will be planted and studied after the trip to deep space. Other biology investigations include samples of yeast, fungi, algae, and nutritional seeds.

A view of Moonikin “Campos” secured in a seat inside the Artemis I Orion crew module atop the Space Launch System rocket in High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 3, 2022.

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Snoopy is going to the moon!

Snoopy is joining the deep space adventure, too, along with a pen nib from the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in California.  NASA began collaborating with Schulz in the 1960s, according to an article on the Kennedy Space Center website, and that has included a long-standing relationship with Schulz’s Snoopy character.

Snoopy became “the mascot for NASA’s spaceflight safety initiative.” Schulz created comic strips of Snoopy on the Moon, helping to inspire excitement about America’s space program.” Charlie Brown and Snoopy became the mascots for Apollo 10. 

Joining the ride on Artemis I are 245 silver Snoopy pins and a plush Snoopy doll that will act as a  Zero G Indicator in the Artemis I flight kit. When the doll starts floating it will indicate a Zero G environment.

Snoopy as a zero gravity indicator for the uncrewed Artemis I mission around the moon and back.

Items from Apollo 8, Apollo 11, Apollo 17 missions included with Artemis I

NASA also lists commemorative items that will be in the capsule, too, such as a bolt and patches from the Apollo 11 and 17 missions to the moon and an Apollo 8 coin on loan from the National Air and Space Museum.  Even a moon rock collected during Apollo 11 will go back toward the lunar surface.

The items will be put on display once they return celebrating a new generation of moon exploration while connecting to another that has long since passed.   

Other items taking a ride to the moon with Artemis I are various state, country, and U.S. flags, and a Shaun the Sheep mascot. 

Shaun the Sheep, a contribution from the European Space Agency, seen here experiencing microgravity on a parabolic flight will fly next on NASA's Artemis I mission.

Lego mini-figures ride with Artemis I 

NASA also announced the Lego Group has provided four mini-figures, a nod to the free online Artemis I “Build to Launch” collaboration with NASA, a 10-week interactive lesson plan that invites students and teachers to learn more about NASA engineers, scientists, and astronauts and to explore other STEM concepts.

NASA's Artemis I mission is an uncrewed test flight around the moon and back. It will carry hundreds of pounds of commemorative payload including Artemis I mission patches seen here.

Girl Scouts of America science badges fly to space on Artemis I

The Girl Scouts of America have included space science badges to be awarded to winners of an essay contest. The award will be presented to up to 90 winners who were selected from across all Girl Scout grade levels. 

Microchips engraved with the names of nearly 30,000 people who worked on NASA’s Artemis I mission will fly inside the Orion spacecraft on its upcoming journey around the Moon.

What else is flying to space with Artemis I?

Finally, payloads from NASA’s international partners will be included. These range from flags to a 3D-printed replica of the Greek goddess Artemis that will be put on display in the Acropolis Museum in Greece. 

Other items include a pebble from the Dead Sea contributed by the Israel Space Agency. 

When will Artemis I launch?

NASA scrubbed the first attempt to launch Artemis I Monday, August 29, due to technical issues. The next attempt to launch Artemis I is two-hour launch window opens Saturday, Sept. 3 at 2:17 p.m. EDT.