First person on Mars is ‘likely to be’ female, says NASA
Published : Wednesday, 13 March, 2019 at 4:43 PM Count : 306
The head of NASA has said the first person on Mars is 'likely to be a woman', just days ahead of the first all-female spacewalk.
Jim Bridenstine made the announcement during the science and technology radio show Science Friday. He also said the United States will have astronauts on the moon again in less than 10 years and this time, he says, ‘we will stay.’
And while the NASA Administrator, who was appointed by President Donald Trump last year, did not name a specific astronaut he said the agency is 'committed to making sure that we have a broad and diverse set of talent', daily Mail reports.
Bridenstine was asked whether women will be included in the agency's next trip to the moon.
He replied: 'Absolutely. These are great days.' Bridenstine added: 'The first person on Mars is likely to be a woman. We have the first all-female spacewalk happening this month at the end of March, which is of course, National Women’s Month.
'So NASA is committed to making sure that we have a broad and diverse set of talent.'
Astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will get to float around in space for around seven hours at the end of the month. Jackie Kagey will be the lead spacewalk flight controller.
McClain and Koch were part of the 2013 astronaut class, half of which were women, and today women make up more than a third of active NASA astronauts. They will head up on March 29 to work on upgrades to the International Space Station.
NASA's Stephanie Schierholz told Space.com: 'It really is the luck of the draw. We feel lucky that it [the all-female spacewalk] just sort of happened to be in Women's History Month.'
The first six women joined NASA’s Astronaut Corps in 1978, making up nearly 10 per cent of the active astronaut corps.
A new $21 billion 2020 budget marks nearly a six per cent increase from last year’s.
We will go to the Moon in the next decade with innovative, new technologies and systems to explore more locations across the lunar surface than ever before,’ Bridenstine said Monday.
'This time, when we go to the Moon, we will stay.
'We will use what we learn as we move forward to the Moon to take the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.'
The plan, which has been in development over the last few years, relies on the developing Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft, along with the Gateway orbital platform.
SLS and Orion are expected to be ready for their first uncrewed test flight in 2020.
Construction on Gateway – an orbiting lunar outpost – is expected to begin construction as soon as 2022.