NASA boss says first Martian 'likely to be a woman'

Olive Hawkins
March 14, 2019

Speaking on "Science Friday", a weekly radio talk show, Jim Bridenstine said that a female will "absolutely" make mankind's first footsteps on the Red Planet.

And while the NASA Administrator, who was appointed by President Donald Trump a year ago, 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".

John Keller, LRO deputy project scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland said, "This result is an important step in advancing the water story on the Moon and is a result of years of accumulated data from the LRO mission".

Bridenstine was asked whether women will be included in the agency's next trip to the moon.

Astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will float into space to work on upgrades to the outside of the International Space Station, according to Space.com. The budget request for 2020 provides $21 billion to the space agency, which is more than the budget request in 2019, but is $480 million less than what NASA ultimately received previous year, according to Space News.

'So NASA is committed to making sure that we have a broad and diverse set of talent'.

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The first all-women spacewalk will be happening March 29 as part of National Women's Month, Bridenstine said in the interview.

Today, women make up 34% of active NASA astronauts, and while that's still well short of half, it's a lot closer than it has been in the past. We feel lucky that it [the all-female spacewalk] just sort of happened to be in Women's History Month'.

A new $21 billion 2020 budget marks almost a six per cent increase from last year's.

The government space agency announced Monday it had chosen nine teams, giving them a total of $8 million, to help study the lunar samples for the first time in an effort to better understand the Moon, as well as help prepare for future space exploration.

'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".

NASA offered a rough timeline of when it expects to actually see the two spacecraft head skyward, with an unmanned test flight tentatively scheduled for 2020 and a manned mission around the Moon slated to take place by 2023.

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