First woman to land on the moon in 2024, NASA confirms

Plans are unfolding for NASA’s Artemis mission, including a plan to land the first female astronaut on the moon in 2024.

The news comes after 18 months of preparation since NASA first announced the Artemis program, which will see the first American on the moon since the Apollo lunar mission in 1972.

Spurred by recent missives from the White House, the Artemis program includes research into commercial partnerships and other economic opportunities in space travel. NASA hopes to put all that research and revenue into further exploration of Mars, which is more than 139 million miles farther from Earth than the moon.

“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,” said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine in a press statement.

Last year, it was Vice President Mike Pence who challenged NASA to send their first woman to the moon — four years ahead of their original goal, according to the updated Artemis Plan on NASA.gov. They have said that the target date shift will be “significantly dependent on new technology maturation” and are currently working with scientists and vendors to assess where and how their original timeline can be accelerated.

The multiphase program begins with missions to set up a human base on the moon, where astronauts will work with robots to investigate the lunar surface, ultimately to establish how rocket launches could take place in low-gravity, without access to traditional fuel methods.

Only 65 women in US history have had the privilege to go to space, including the two involved in the first all-female spacewalk last year. And last month, NASA announced that astronaut Jeanette Epps is scheduled to become the first black female to board the International Space Station for a six-month expedition starting in 2021.

The inspirational news apparently comes as a win-win for men and women alike, according to some on social media. Joked one eager husband on Twitter: “My wife will happily volunteer.”

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