• Shaun is headed for the Moon under the Artemis I mission, ESA said
  • Artemis I is an important step for future crewed human missions
  • Shaun is already "preparing" for the mission and even started training

From going on escapades and adventures at an English farm, Shaun the sheep is now headed for the Moon. This big assignment for the clever sheep is said to be a "giant leap for lambkind."

A seat is now reserved for Shaun aboard the Artemis I mission to the Moon, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced Tuesday. It's quite a big mission for the woolly "astronaut." The uncrewed mission will take it around the Moon, "farther than any human, or sheep, has ever traveled," and back again.

Not only will this test NASA's Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System, but it's also an important stepping stone for future human explorations.

"Shaun's mission assignment rounds off the first phase for the latest members of our astronaut corps," David Parker, ESA's Director for human and robotic exploration, said in the announcement. "This is an exciting time for Shaun and for us at ESA. We're woolly very happy that he's been selected for the mission and we understand that, although it might be a small step for a human, it's a giant leap for lambkind."

During the mission, which is slated to launch later this month, Shaun will join other "crew members" — Commander Moonikin Campos, the manikin named after the man who was "instrumental" in bringing home the Apollo 13 crew, as well as two other manikins, Helga and Zohar. Together, the crew will certainly make for a memorable and significant mission that will pave the way for deeper exploration.

For now, Shaun the Sheep is "preparing" for the mission, according to the ESA. Shaun has already begun astronaut training and will even travel through Europe and the U.S. One can even see Shaun already wearing a special astronaut uniform in a photo shared on Twitter.

"Aardman is excited to be joining ESA in making history by launching the first 'sheep' into space," Lucy Wendover, the marketing director for the studio behind the series, said in the ESA news release, calling Shaun's inclusion in the mission "a great honor for our woolly adventurer!"

"2022 marks the 15th anniversary of Shaun's first TV series, so what better way to celebrate than by traveling farther than any sheep has gone before," Wendover added.

NASA outlined the scientific priorities for the Artemis III astronauts on the Moon
NASA outlined the scientific priorities for the Artemis III astronauts on the Moon AFP / Laurent EMMANUEL