So far, twelve Americans have walked on the moon, and all of them were men. Due to NASA’s new space program known as Artemis, that is all about to change. Artemis, named after the ancient Grecian deity, will be sending female astronauts to the moon for the first time since December of 1972.
Not only will half of the astronauts taking part in the program be women, but the next American person who makes a footprint on the moon will be a women too. The missions are even run by women, NASA hired their first female launch director, Charlie Blackwell-Thompson. In around a year she will be the one to give the “go for launch” in the same room the Apollo 11 mission was given the go-ahead to be launched from. That room that was once filled by men will now be around 30% female, a monumental leap forward when it comes to this area of science.
Another first is Jody Singer, who is NASA’s first female director of Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. It is her job to build the Space Launch System (SLS), which is the most powerful rocket to date and is designed to go to the moon and beyond. It is also the only rocket at the moment that can carry the Orion capsule, which holds the astronauts in the deep space.
The first Artemis mission will test out the Orion with the SLS, the second will incorporate the crew, and the third will go to the surface of the moon. The lunar lander is still in the concept stage; however, it will not be needed until the third mission thus far. Another noteworthy aspect of the Artemis mission is the launch of a space station that will orbit the moon. Known as Gateway, the space station’s parts will be launched using one of Space X’s Falcon Heavy rockets, which Springer says is a symbolic partnership that represents the integration of commercial businesses into the governmental space programs.
The 18 participants have already been chosen with 2 of them on the International Space System; however, it is not known who exactly will fly to the moon. NASA is especially excited about sending Artemis to the Moon’s South Pole where lots of ice has been found because gives scientists hope for learning how to live in deep space. Blackwell-Thompson, regarding this information, hopes that they will “look up at the night sky and not be limited to the moon”.