Humans have not left Earth orbit since Apollo 17 returned from the Moon in 1972.
NASA has been trying to change that since 2004 when then-U.S. President George W. Bush announced the Vision for Space Exploration, an initiative to send humans back to the Moon and eventually to land on Mars....
Through its current Artemis program, NASA envisions sending astronauts to the lunar south pole by 2025 and eventually establishing a permanent presence on the Moon. The program is a result of the Trump administration's Space Policy Directive 1 and a March 26, 2019 speech by former Vice President Mike Pence directing NASA to reach the Moon by 2024. That date has now slipped to 2025.
Artemis is designed to land humans on the Moon quickly and focus on Mars as a long-term human spaceflight goal after that. Continue reading from The Planetary Society
After its 1.4 million-mile mission beyond the Moon and back, the Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission arrived back at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Dec. 30. The capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on December 11 and was transported by truck across the country from Naval Base San Diego in California to Kennedy's Multi Payload Processing in Florida....
Artemis I was a major step forward as part of NASA's lunar exploration efforts and sets the stage for the next mission of the next mission of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion to Fly crew around the Moon on Artemis II. Continue reading from NASA
Astronauts on their first flight aboard NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft will venture around the Moon. Their mission will be to confirm all the spacecraft's systems operate as designed with crew aboard in the actual environment of deep space. The Artemis II flight test will be NASA's first mission with crew and will pave the way to land the first woman and next man on the Moon on Artemis III. Building on those early missions, NASA's Artemis program will return humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and future missions to worlds beyond, including Mars.
"The unique Artemis II mission profile will build upon the uncrewed Artemis I flight test by demonstrating a broad range of SLS and Orion capabilities needed on deep space missions," said Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager. "This mission will provide Orion's critical life support systems are ready to sustain our astronauts on longer duration missions ahead and allow the crew to practice operations essential to the success of Artemis III." Continue reading from NASA