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One Small Step For Woman Marks NASA’s Giant Leap To Mars

NASA have announced that the first person on Mars is likely to be a woman.

They say that men are from Mars, but NASA plans to leave that cliché in the red dust.

In fact it’s more like the 1967 B-Movie… Mars Needs Women.

In a radio interview last Friday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine suggested that the first human to set foot on the red planet was likely to be a woman.

Bridenstine was responding to a question from a listener to Science Friday about whether a woman could be expected in the next manned (or humanned) trip to the Moon.

“The answer is absolutely,” the NASA chief said. “In fact, it’s likely to be a woman, the first next person on the Moon. It’s also true that the first person on Mars is likely to be a woman. So these are great days.”

Bridenstine then talked about the first all-female spacewalk, which International Space Station astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch are due to take on Friday March 22.

McClain and Koch were part of the 2013 astronaut class, which had a 50/50 gender split. The agency says women comprise 34 percent of active NASA astronauts.

"NASA is committed to making sure we have a broad and diverse set of talent and we're looking forward to the first woman on the moon," Bridenstine said.

Yesterday, Bridenstine provided more formal details of the agency’s plans to return to the moon and move on to Mars at a presentation at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Bridenstine is tasked with implementing President Trump’s Space Policy Directive 1, and the White House this week released their budget request for 2020 - a total of US$21 billion for NASA.

Jim Bridenstine speaks at the Kennedy Space Centre (Image: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)
Jim Bridenstine speaks at the Kennedy Space Centre (Image: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

It’s a slight downgrade from their 2019 budget, pushing some milestones back, but the headline is the establishment of the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (aka “the Gateway”), a waystation and research station which would be placed in lunar orbit.

"Beginning with a series of small commercial delivery missions to the Moon as early as this year, we will use new landers, robots and eventually humans by 2028 to conduct science across the entire lunar surface," Bridenstine said in a statement.

The agency also launched a new website – Moon2Mars – to spell out their plans to us mere Earthlings. And according to that site, women should be walking on Mars in the 2030s.