NASA is Landing the First Woman on the Moon

The space agency seeks to return to the lunar surface by 2024.

Oct 16, 2020

Women in space have had some recent milestones. They have come a long way from being hidden figures in the background to conducting the first all-female spacewalk from the International Space Station. Now NASA is planning to put the first woman on the Moon. It will be one giant step for all womankind.

In fact, the current plans are to land a woman and a man on the lunar surface in 2024 according to a press release from the US space agency. The last time a person landed on the moon was in 1972. Now, the Artemis Program – named after the Greek goddess of the moon and the twin sister of Apollo– has accelerated its plans to establish sustainable exploration and the first step is the Moon.

“With bipartisan support from Congress, our 21st century push to the Moon is well within America’s reach,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said in the press release. “As we’ve solidified more of our exploration plans in recent months, we’ve continued to refine our budget and architecture. We’re going back to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers. As we build up a sustainable presence, we’re also building momentum toward those first human steps on the Red Planet.”

The space agency will use its new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) to put the Orion spacecraft in space. There will be two test flights around the Moon to check to make sure everything is working correctly including life support, communications, and performance. The first Artemis I will be launched in 2021 without a crew and Artemis II will have a crew of astronauts and is set for 2023.

NASA’S human spaceflight chief Kathy Lueders told the BBC that Artemis I would last about a month so that all the critical systems could be properly checked out. This would reduce the risk for the astronaut crew on Artemis II. But this timeline is contingent on the US congress releasing  $28 Billion in funding through 2025.

To date only 12 people – all men – have walked on the Moon with the first being Neil Armstrong on July 20, 1969. His historic words, “that’s one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind,” weren’t meant to exclude women. But it was not even a remote possibility at that time that a woman could ever go to the moon. Women were not allowed to be astronauts until 1978 after anti-discrimination laws were passed.

But who will be the woman who will mark this amazing milestone? In a July 2019 interview, Bridenstine told CNN that the first woman astronaut to walk on the lunar surface would be someone who has already proven herself in space at the International Space Station. At that time there were only 12-women astronauts.

The long-range plans call for NASA to establish a base on the Moon, according to BBC, called Artemis Base Camp that will contain the infrastructure that is needed for long-time exploration of the Moon. And from there, the sky’s the limit with a woman leading the way.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.