Houston, TX – When Neil Armstrong first stepped foot on the Moon over 50 years ago, he captivated the world, saying, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Around the world, young people gathered around TV sets to tune in on July 20, 1969. The historic mission inspired the Apollo Generation to pursue space-related careers, with many of those individuals serving in NASA leadership roles today—at NASA centers, in space and at home.
NASA’s Artemis program is working to launch astronauts to the Moon once again, with a goal of sending the first woman and next man to the lunar surface by 2024, and inspiring the next generation of explorers, scientists, engineers and dreamers — the Artemis Generation — along the way. As NASA progresses with the Artemis program, NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement, or OSTEM, envisions students across the nation being a part of that journey, and ultimately, future missions. NASA’s direct work with students aims to engage the Artemis generation and stimulate interest in STEM careers across the nation.
On May 30, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon launched to the International Space Station. This launch was the first time American astronauts had launched from American soil since the end of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011. The launch was witnessed around the world, a crucial milestone for future missions to the Moon and beyond. A major moment for NASA, it was also a significant for the students of the Artemis Generation tuning in. Students across the country had been preparing for the launch for weeks, from virtual classrooms to back yard missions. For many, this was the first time they had seen a launch from American soil, and for all, it was the first time NASA had launched a commercial rocket into orbit.
Building off the momentum of a successful launch, NASA collaborated with Future Engineers to create the Next Moon Step Challenge, with hopes of keeping the launch excitement and inspiration alive within the Artemis Generation, and encouraging them to make their mark in space. The challenge, open until Tuesday, July 21, asks K-12 students to brainstorm what their famous line would be as they first step foot on the Moon.
Armstrong left big shoes to fill, but NASA is confident today’s students are up for the task. Students must submit an image of their footprint – a photo or original piece of artwork – and what they would say as they first stepped on the surface of the Moon (maximum 20 words). Exceptional entries will be marked in the gallery with “NASA gold stars”.
This is one small step for the Artemis Generation, but prepares students to take an even bigger leap in the fall with an Artemis essay contest. Details will be released at a later date, but it is never too early for students to take their first step towards a career in space, and the Moon Step Challenge provides them with the opportunity to do just that.
The Next Moon Step Challenge is presented in partnership with Future Engineers, in an effort to engage the public in NASA’s upcoming missions. Through Artemis, NASA will explore more of the lunar surface than ever before, open the door for further exploration to Mars and inspire students across the nation.
Upcoming Rocket Launches/Missions
07/20: NASA’s Mars 2020 rover launches to the Red Planet! It will lift off on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
07/23: Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the 76th Progress cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station. It will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 9:26 a.m.
08/01: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SXM 7 satellite for SiriusXM. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 11:27 a.m.
08/26: United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket will launch a classified spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. The mission, titled NROL-44, will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
08/30: SpaceX will launch Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi. The mission will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.