Orange County

UCF partnering with NASA to help with astronauts’ return to moon

ORLANDO, Fla. — NASA’s Artemis I mission is set to launch Monday morning.

Watch: Artemis I: 9 things to know about NASA’s mission to return humans to the moon

It’s the first step on a series of complex and historic missions to get people back to the moon.


It’s a big mission, and students and professors at the University of Central Florida are helping out.

Photos: UCF partnering with NASA to help with astronauts’ return to moon

“The moon has become so important to understanding how we can explore space,” said planetary scientist and UCF assistant professor Dr. Kerri Donaldson Hanna.

Hanna is working on three upcoming lunar missions to help NASA get astronauts back to the moon for the first time in 50 years.

Watch: James Webb Space Telescope photos: NASA releases amazing images of Jupiter

“There was so much diversity that’s yet to be explored,” Hanna said.

Hanna is tasked with mapping the moon.

“Making these really high spatial resolution maps will allow us to identify key exact locations put the astronauts and rovers at the surface.”

Her students are hard at work in the lab, researching and building instruments to support the moon-based missions.

Read: NASA, SpaceX set date for next Commercial Crew launch

The Artemis program aims to land the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface by 2025.

Officials said the moon landing will make way for further exploration of Mars and maybe even beyond.

UCF is actually known as “Space U,” because of its long history of space research.

About 30% of Kennedy Space Center employees are UCF alumni.

Watch more in the video above.