Ahead of NASA’s highly anticipated Artemis program, and following its recently accomplished all-female spacewalk, the space agency’s administrator said that the first human that will be sent to Mars will be a woman.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine made the announcement during a news conference on Friday (October 18). “We could very well see the first person on Mars be a woman,” Bridenstine said. “I think that could very well be a milestone.”
Bridenstine also said that the woman to be sent to the Martian planet will most likely be from a pool of younger generation astronauts — too young to be included in its roster for now. “If my 11-year-old daughter has her way, we’ll have a woman on Mars in the not-too-distant future,” Bridenstine said.
Earlier in September, U.S. President Donald Trump regarded NASA’s efforts to return to the moon as “not exciting,” saying that he is looking forward to future exploration efforts to the Red Planet.
“We’re going to Mars,” Trump told reporters after a White House meeting with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison last September 20.
“We’re stopping at the moon. The moon is actually a launching pad,” Trump said. “That’s why we’re stopping at the moon. I said, ‘Hey, we’ve done the moon. That’s not so exciting.’ So we’ll be doing the moon. But we’ll really be doing Mars.”
Similar to what the President said on Twitter in June: “For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon — We did that 50 years ago,” he wrote, criticizing NASA that Mars should be the goal.
Likewise, NASA is currently developing the much-needed technology to accomplish its goal with the Artemis Program, which is meant to send the next man and the first-ever woman to the lunar surface by 2024.
After, and if successful, NASA intends to move forward with its deep-space exploration. Particularly looking at Mars as the next destination to land humans on. Then it won’t be long before we see the first woman on Mars, and she just might beat the first man there, according to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Unlike questions regarding who that woman that will be chosen to land on Mars, the soon-to-be first woman on the moon will likely be selected from NASA’s current pool of active astronauts. As of the moment, however, NASA has not revealed the identity or details of who the first woman on the moon will be.
On the other hand, regarding NASA’s mission to Mars, the space agency currently has no concrete plans for landing humans on Mars as most of its efforts are prioritized towards a successful Artemis moon landing. Bridenstine has said that the first crewed Mars landing could happen sometime in the 2030s.
Meanwhile, private spaceflight company is well in the development of its colossal Starship spacecraft, which intends to ferry a hundred passengers from Earth to the Red Planet. CEO Elon Musk recently said in development update that thy could begin testing the spacecraft for in-orbit scenarios in six months. All of which could help NASA send those astronaut pioneers to the Red Planet.