The first person to step foot on Mars is likely to be a woman, according to Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of NASA. Speaking as a guest on the US-based science and technology radio show Science Friday, Bridenstine said that women are at the forefront of the US space agency’s upcoming plans, CNN reported.
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He however, did not identify a specific person who would be going for the Mars human mission. On being asked weather a woman will go to the moon for the first time, Bridenstine said “The answer is absolutely. In fact, it is likely to be a woman, the first next person on the Moon,” PTI reported.
“It is also true that the first person on Mars is likely to be a woman,” he was quoted as saying.
NASA will be having its first all-women spacewalk at the end this month, when astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will get to float around in space. The spacewalk will last about seven hours, according to the US space agency.
The ground support will be provided by flight director Mary Lawrence and Kristen Facciol in the US space agency’s Johnson Space Center in Texas.
Currently, women comprise 34 per cent of active NASA astronauts, according to the agency.
NASA has some major plans for its Mars 2020 Mission, which will build upon many discoveries from the Mars Curiosity rover and the two Mars exploration rovers – Spirit and Opportunity. by taking the next key steps in understanding Mars’ potential as a habitat for past or present life.
The agency will send a rover, which will carry seven instruments to conduct unprecedented science and exploration technology investigations on the red planet. It is expected to launch in July-August 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station or NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rover is likely to land on Mars in February 2021 at a site which is to be determined by the agency, then it will spend at least one year in Mars (which is around two Earth years) exploring the landing site region.