The Artemis I mission, which is now delayed until November, is NASA’s first step toward a return to the moon. Humans won’t ride aboard the Artemis rocket, but there’s one important crew member who will make the journey alone—Snoopy from Peanuts.
According to NASA, a stuffed Snoopy doll wearing a custom orange jumpsuit will endure the lonely trip through space. Snoopy will play the role of a zero-g indicator—NASA will monitor him through a camera, and when he floats, we’ll know that Artemis is outside of Earth’s gravitational pull. (NASA traditionally uses stuffed toys as zero-g indicators, in case you’re wondering.)
NASA hopes to sling its Artemis rocket far beyond the moon, giving it a good look at our most precious space rock. And it will make a return journey to Earth that’s faster than any previous capsule. If the mission is a success, NASA hopes to return humans to the moon.
This is quite an exciting mission for Snoopy, who has played an integral role at NASA for over half a century. During the Apollo 11 mission, the now-famous crew nicknamed their lunar module “Snoopy” and called their command module “Charlie Brown.” Successful NASA employees have received “Silver Snoopy” commemoration pins since the Apollo era, and NASA regularly collaborates with Peanuts on STEM-related learning materials.
Snoopy made his first trip to space during the STS-32 mission (Columbia’s ninth flight), which was repeatedly delayed—perhaps a foreshadowing to Artemis I. When this rocket eventually launches, we hope that NASA shares images of Snoopy in zero gravity.