NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said at a press conference that the first human being to set foot on Mars could very well be a woman. Bridenstine was speaking to reporters about the first ever all-female spacewalk conducted by Christina Koch and Jessica Meir last week.
“We could very well see the first person on Mars be a woman. I think that could very well be a milestone,” Bridenstine said, according to Space.com. “If my 11-year-old daughter has her way, we’ll have a woman on Mars in the not-too-distant future.”
NASA has no concrete plans for launching humans to Mars yet, as venturing to the Moon is the agency’s first priority with both a man and woman in the team. However, Bridenstine did hint at the possibility of sending a manned crew to the big red planet could happen in the 2030’s.
NASA haven’t announced who the first female to walk on the moon will be, but she can expect to land on the lunar surface in 2024. The moon landing mission is part of NASA’s Artemis programme, which is the agencies first step in establishing a permanent human presence on the moon. NASA hopes to use the moon as a launch base when they eventually send humans to Mars.
The NASA administrator added that whoever ends up getting selected to travel to Mars is probably too young to be in NASA’s current astronaut crop, as the mission would only take place in the next decade.