NASA will send a female astronaut on the 2024 moon mission

  • If the very first lunar mission was a small step for man, the next shall be a giant leap for women.
  • According to NASA, there will be a seat on the 2024 lunar mission specially reserved for a woman, the first to ever walk on the Moon.
  • The program is named for the Greek goddess and twin sister of Apollo, Artemis.
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Only 12 people have ever travelled so far as to touch the brightest object in our night sky — the Moon. All of these astronauts were male.

If the very first lunar mission was a small step for man, the next shall be a giant leap for women.

At the start of this week NASAannounced an accelerated and ambitious plan to return to the Moon in just five years. This time, the space agency wants to make camp, and to get there it’s taking an entirely different approach to the Apollo missions.

Read more: NASA held a contest to design a 3D habitat on Mars, and the winner is a vertical pod that can be printed in 30 hours

For starters, there will be a seat on the2024 lunar mission specially reserved for a woman, the first to ever walk on the Moon. The program itself makes a sort-of bow to gender equality: it’s named for the Greek goddess and twin sister of Apollo, the venerable Artemis.

“Fifty years after Apollo, the Artemis program will carry the next man and first woman to the Moon,”said Bridenstine during a press call, according to CNN.

Symbolic or no, it will be the first time that a woman has ever walked across the surface of Earth’s grey satellite.

Nevertheless, someremain skeptical that the mission will even happen. While certainly ambitious, the timeline borders on unrealistic, especially when you consider that Congress has yet to sign off on President Trump’supgraded budget, which includes an additional US$1.6 billion for the agency this year, and likelybillions of dollars every year after.

Read more: NASA said the moon is shrinking like a raisin, and experiencing ‘moonquakes’ that are cracking its brittle surface

Besides basic financing, the mission will also require the most powerful rocket ever designed, a new launch system, a fresh approach to lunar landing systems, a floating “gateway” station between Earth and the Moon that does not currently exist, andbrand new lunar space suits for everyone.

It sounds like a squeeze, but the chief of NASA thinks the short timeline works in their favour. Today, in a town hall addressing NASA employees, heargued that to delay the goal, set out by Vice President Mike Pence in March, is actually a riskier alternative.

“Basically, the shorter the program is, the less time it takes, the less political risk we endure. In other words, we can accomplish the end state,” heargued.

If it all works out, America will have an outpost on the way to Mars, quietly orbiting in the gravity between Earth and its Moon.

“Humans are the most fragile element of this entire endeavor and yet we go for humanity,” a NASA videoclaims.

The mission has been named, now let’s see if it can get off the ground.

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