NASA has joined hands with popular Muppets like Elmo, Cookie monster, etc from Sesame street show and the Muppets will countdown to the launch of the Orion spacecraft, which is scheduled to take off this December.
On 4th December Orion (unmanned) will undertake a four and half hour test flight which will see it orbit Earth two times, carrying the modules 3,600 miles above Earth, or about 16 times higher than the average altitude of the International Space Station, before plunging back in the atmosphere at speeds of 20,000 miles per hour and landing in the Pacific Ocean.
The Muppets will start a ten day countdown from November 25th for this December test flight, in collaboration with NASA. Sesame Street will share comic strips, graphics and videos of the characters in the show and will be seen interacting with the Orion’s space capsule. For example the show’s Twitter account wrote on Tuesday, “9 days to go before NASA’s Orion launch! Did you know that there are 970 tiles to protect its shell from high temps?” as a caption on the cartoon of The Count counting heat shields tiles.
The show and NASA will collaborate further in an effort to educate a new generation of space explorers about the Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) and NASA’s future journey to Mars.
All through the countdown, the Muppets from the show will share what items they would pack for the journey to Mars, describe what the flight would be for an Orion crew-member if he makes the journey towards Mars and other facts about space to help kids understand the spacecraft that much more. At the end of the count, scheduled for Dec. 4th at 7:05 a.m. EST, Elmo will join NASA at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the EFT-1 launch.
The Mars expedition of Orion is hoped to happen around 2030, when the kids and youngsters of today – the target audience of this collaboration between NASA and Sesame Street – will be all grown up. It is hoped that this will inspire these young minds to actively seek interest in this project. There is an added hope that some might get inspired and eventually become a part of it or contribute to it in the future. Or at least they will become interested in Orion when it eventually leaves for Mars some day.