NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine has announced that the first person on Mars will likely be a woman. Predicting that the next American astronaut to walk on the moon will also be a woman. Bridenstine who provided no date for the exploration however did hint that the first all-woman spacewalk will be taking place later this month.
Bridenstine did not provide specific info as to how NASA will decide who to send on this mission. However, it might be a harder decision than you think,
Given the increasing number of women astronauts, the decision on which woman would be chosen is seen as a tough decision according to the NASA administrator.
NASA first accepted women in 1978 and today 34 percent of active astronauts are now women.
What’s more, NASA reports that this year marks the first year in the institution’s history that the astronaut candidate class is half men, half women. The organization is also working to increase the amount of people of color who are in the ranks; currently, African American, Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and other “multi-racial astronauts” make up 24 percent of active astronauts for NASA, per the organization.
Via The Huffington Post, the first all-female spacewalk will take place on March 29, and will include astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain. The lead spacewalk officer will be Jackie Kagey, the publication reports. In a statement acquired by The Huffington Post, NASA spokeswoman Kathryn Hambleton said, “The March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women… [But] assignments and schedules could always change.”
The goal of the spacewalk is to work on upgrades to the International Space Station, according to Space.com. In a televised call with Mike Pence on March 6, McClain said,
It might surprise some to know that it wasn’t planned for the spacewalk to be all-women, or for it to take place during Women’s History Month. To Space.com, NASA’s Stephanie Schierholz said, “It really is the luck of the draw,” explaining that it was random chance that only women were selected for the walk. Schierholz added, “We feel lucky that it [the all-female spacewalk] just sort of happened to be in Women’s History Month.”
The tentative schedule marks March 29 as the day the women will step “outside” to perform maintenance for approximately seven hours, per NASA’s website. However, Space.com notes that the date is subject to change.