Artemis Mission, Artemis Goddess: NASA has a long history of naming its missions after mythological figures. Starting in the 1950s, many rockets and launch systems were named after Greek sky deities, like Atlas and Saturn, whose Greek name is Cronos.
NASA’s latest mission to the Moon –Artemis– is named after an ancient lunar goddess, the twin sister of Apollo. She was a daughter of Zeus, the chief god of the Olympians, who ruled the world from the summit of Mount Olympus. She was a deity in ancient Greece, worshiped at least as early as the beginning of the first millennium B.C., or even earlier.
Artemis, a celibate, was goddess of the wilderness and hunting. Her independence and strength have long inspired women in a wide range of activities.
For example, in a poem titled Artemis, author Allison Eir Jenks writes: I’m no longer your god-mother, your chef, your bus-stop, your therapist, your junk-drawer, emphasising women’s freedom and autonomy.
The Greeks and Romans associated Artemis with the Moon, and she has also become a modern-day feminist icon. The aspect of the goddess has faded away with time, however with the rise of feminism, Artemis has become an icon of feminine power and self-reliance.
NASA and women empowerment in ‘space’
Artemis I will send a rocket without a crew on a month-long journey around the Moon.
The programme aims to increase women’s participation in space exploration, 30% of its engineers are women. In addition, the Artemis I mission will carry two mannequins designed to study the effects of radiation on women’s bodies so that NASA can learn how to protect female astronauts better.
Female astronauts are currently less likely to be selected for missions than men because their bodies tend to hit NASA’s maximum acceptable threshold of radiation earlier. NASA expects to land the first woman and next man on Moon after 2024.
(With PTI inputs)