NASA aims to make history by landing the first-ever woman on the Moon by 2024. The first man in nearly five decades will join the female astronaut on the impending mission, which will be called Artemis, the governmental space agency announced.
In Greek mythology, Artemis is the Greek goddess of the Moon. She is also Apollo’s twin sister. NASA’s Apollo 11 mission successfully landed the first humans on the Moon on July 20, 1969. This summer marks the 50th anniversary since that landmark lunar mission.
President Trump recently announced he’s adding $1.6 billion to NASA’s budget to further the space agency’s goal. He wrote:
Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars. I am updating my budget to include an additional $1.6 billion so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2019
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine echoed the president’s enthusiasm during a press call reported by CNN. “Fifty years after Apollo, the Artemis program will carry the next man and first woman to the Moon,” Bridenstine said.
Launching a New Lunar Chapter and Inspiring the Next Generation
The proposed space program’s five-year lunar goal is in keeping with Trump’s 2017 Space Policy Directive 1. Landing a woman on the Moon, however, launches a whole new lunar chapter. Bridenstine discussed the mission’s importance in an MSNBC interview.
“I have an 11-year-old daughter. If you go back to the 1960s’ our pilots that went to the Moon in the 1960s’ they were fighter pilots. They were test pilots. There were no opportunities for women in those days. I think it is important for us to show the world that our Astronauts Corps is diverse. That it is highly qualified,” Bridenstine said.
“I want my daughter who’s 11-years-old to see herself in the same way our Astronaut Corps currently sees itself,” he added, “capable of doing absolutely monumental things. So that we can bring the best out in America—all of America.”
NASA’s equal opportunity interstellar outlook is inspiring for girls of all ages. Who wouldn’t want to be the next Captain Marvel?
Real-life space heroes and International Space Station crew members Anne McClain and Christina Koch are currently hard at work unlocking the mysteries of the microgravity environment onboard their temporary orbiting home.
They are also paving the way for the next generation of female astronauts.
Commercial Partners Pushing Toward a Common Goal
NASA teams with a wide array of commercial partners like SpaceX, Boeing, Space Tango, and other companies to achieve future space exploration goals.
Right now, NASA is intent on reaching its #Moon2024 goals. The agency just selected 11 companies to conduct studies and produce prototypes of human landers for the Artemis lunar exploration project. SpaceX and Boeing made the list, along with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, and more.
“To accelerate our return to the Moon, we are challenging our traditional ways of doing business. We will streamline everything from procurement to partnerships to hardware development and even operations,” Marshall Smith, director for human lunar exploration programs at NASA Headquarters said in a statement. “Our team is excited to get back to the Moon as quickly as possible, and our public/private partnerships to study human landing systems are an important step in that process.”
Crewed Mission to Mars Next Step
Bridenstine pointed out the space program has come a long way since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s historic walk on the Moon. Back in the ‘60s, rocket scientists and engineers built everything from scratch. Now, an infrastructure exists. They can also store electricity, miniaturize electronics, and reuse rockets to drive down costs.
The esteemed NASA leader told MSNBC the groundbreaking lunar expedition would help facilitate a crewed mission to Mars. With the $1.6 billion budget increase, he is also confident they have the long-term funds to complete their journey to the Moon.
“The Moon is our proving ground,” said Bridenstine. “So, how do we live and work on another world? And then we can take that capability on to Mars.”