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NASA needs our help. What should we call the Artemis I test dummy?

Here’s everything you need to know about the ‘moonikin’ name game

The Jovian moon Ganymede as the Juno spacecraft flies by.
This June 7, 2021, image made available by NASA shows the Jovian moon Ganymede as the Juno spacecraft flies by.
Associated Press

NASA needs your help. The agency’s latest crowdsourcing initiative is deciding the name of the test dummy that will ride along on the Artemis I moon mission. The Artemis I will launch in November, reports CNN.

  • Voting for “Name the Artemis Moonikin Challenge” will take place every other day from June 16 to June 28 in typical competitive bracket style, according to CNN.
  • The test dummy’s official name will be announced on June 29, per CNet.

The long-term goal of NASA’s Artemis program is to send the first woman and the first person of color to the moon, reports CNet.

Why is NASA using a test dummy?

The test dummy — or “moonikin” — traveling on the Artemis I mission will collect data about the vibration and acceleration that a human crew might experience, said CNet. This data will better inform NASA for the Artemis II mission, scheduled for 2023, that will include a human crew.

  • The moonikin will test if crews can safely escape their seats and if the seats appropriately mitigate impact to the head and neck, reported CNN.

Two other “phantom” torsos — named Helga and Zohar — will accompany the moonikin and also collect data, per CNN.

What should NASA name the test dummy?

In a news release, NASA listed the top eight names for the public to vote on:

  • ACE: “Straightforward, practical. Stands for Artemis Crew Explorer.”
  • CAMPOS: “Resourceful, problem-solver. A dedication to Arturo Campos, key player in bringing Apollo 13 home.”
  • DELOS: “Nostalgic, romantic. The island where Apollo and Artemis were born, according to Greek myth.”
  • DUHART: “Warm, welcoming. A dedication to Irene Duhart Long, chief medical officer at Kennedy Space Center.”
  • MONTGOMERY: “Pioneer, innovative. A dedication to Julius Montgomery, first African American to work at the Cape Canaveral Air Force station as a technical professional.”
  • RIGEL: “Bright, inspirational. The giant superstar in the Orion constellation.”
  • SHACKLETON: “Secretive, abundant. A crater on the Moon’s south pole and a reference to a famous Antarctic explorer.”
  • WARGO: “Enthusiastic, passionate. A dedication to Michael Wargo, the agency’s first Chief Exploration Scientist.”

In the first round, the name “WARGO” lost to “ACE,” NASA tweeted on June 17. The next round occurs tomorrow.

Vote on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram through @NASAArtemis.

Why is NASA crowdsourcing the moonikin’s name?

“Inviting the public to participate in the naming contests and other challenges is important to bring people along for the journey and inspire the next generation of explorers,” NASA spokesperson Kathryn Hambleton said, via CNN.