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This Horizon special has privileged behind-the-scenes access as NASA sends astronauts back to the Moon for the first time in over 50 years - among them, the first woman and person of colour to walk on the lunar surface.

The Apollo missions were discontinued in 1972 for being too expensive and dangerous (some of the first astronauts reportedly believed they had a one in three chance of dying); since then, no human has travelled that far from Earth. Now, Artemis - the successor of Apollo - is NASA's grand plan to establish a permanent lunar base before heading eventually for Mars.

The next step is the Artemis II mission, which will fly four astronauts to the far side of the Moon and back, as a proof-of-concept before attempting a lunar landing.

However, the mission is already under pressure - the launch was recently delayed by ten months (to September 2025), underlining just how complex it is to send humans beyond the limits of our own atmosphere – and return them safely.

Thousands of individual components have to work perfectly; every risk has to be minimised - whether from equipment failure, micrometeoroid collisions, or radiation exposure. And this time, NASA is collaborating with international and commercial partners, many of whom are newcomers in the human exploration of deep space.

An observational documentary shot over 18 months, this film will follow the astronauts, engineers, and back-room crews in the build-up and execution of a historic mission.

Artemis: A Horizon Special 1x60 for BBC Two and iPlayer was commissioned by Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual.

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