A recent YouTube video made by YouTube account, Hazegrayart, combines awesome computer animation, great music, and crisp archived audio recordings to show how NASA’s future Lunar Gateway will function for the upcoming Artemis missions. The archived audio recordings encompass only about a third of the short four and a half minutes of video, with almost the entire length being filled with a gorgeous and relaxing soundtrack as the viewer is left fixated watching a slow and methodical ballet of spaceships come together at Gateway.
The video begins with a distant shot of Earth as a small spacecraft slowly comes into view while it’s traveling away from our home planet. This soundtrack features a dramatic and ominous mix which only increases our anticipation as we try to figure out what spacecraft is flying away from Earth. Is it NASA’s Orion spacecraft?
Artist rendition of NASA’s Lunar Gateway orbiting the Moon with the Orion spacecraft docked in the foreground. (Credit: NASA)
Mere seconds later, we realize it’s not NASA’s future crewed capsule, but something else, something bigger. This is SpaceX’s Dragon XL logistics module built to deliver supplies to Gateway for the later-arriving crew. The ominous sound mix continues as Dragon passes us and the camera turns the opposite direction to give us a distant shot of the Moon with the uncrewed supply ship racing towards it.
The rest of the video brings shades of 2001: A Space Odyssey as we watch Dragon XL, SpaceX’s Starship Human Landing System (HLS), then finally NASA’s Orion spacecraft one at a time slowly approach and dock with Lunar Gateway. The ominous sound mix has been replaced with a much more relaxing melody the moment this ballet starts, and we hear the climax of President John F. Kennedy’s famous “We choose to go to the Moon” speech fade in as the ballet continues.
The final 30 seconds of the video shows us HLS departing Gateway for the Moon, as we close with more resounding words from Kennedy, and the screen fades to black.
Only a decade ago, this video would seem like science fiction, but it will in fact become a reality within just the next few years as we send astronauts back to the Moon for the first time since 1972. Those famous words were spoken by Kennedy at Rice University on September 12, 1962, just over 60 years ago, and they still ring true today.
We chose to go to the Moon then, and we choose to go to the Moon now.
As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!