Cape Canaveral, Fla. NASA has named 18 astronauts – half of them women – who will be training for its Artemis lunar landing program.
The first woman on the moon and the next man will come from this elite group.
Vice President Mike Pence introduced the astronauts on Wednesday at the end of his final meeting as chairman of the National Space Council. The announcement was made at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Pence notes that Jean Sernan, the last of the 12 men to walk on the moon, the last commander of Apollo 17, wanted nothing more than to remove the “last” from his title. Cernan’s last moon feet were on December 14, 1972.
“He spent the rest of his natural life advocating for America to return to the moon, and we’re going to honor the memory of Jean Carnon,” Pence told the small crowd, sitting several feet apart.
Five of the astronauts – in the same presence – walked on stage, waved and wore masks.
NASA Administrator Jim Brydenstein insisted that the group would include more astronauts. NASA has 47 active astronauts.
The goal of the space agency A moon landing By 2024, however, the chances of that happening are slim. Changes in administration also increase ambiguity.
Half of NASA’s astronauts have spaceflight experience. Two are currently on the International Space Station: Kate Rubin and Victor Glover.
The two astronauts who performed the world’s first All-female Rat Spacewalk Cut last year: Christina Koch and Jessica Mir.
This is a very young group, mostly in their 30’s or 40’s. The oldest is 55, the youngest is 32. Only two – Joe Aqaba and Stephanie Wilson – flew on NASA’s old space shuttle.
“History is great, but we are here to look to the future,” Aqaba told reporters after the announcement.
Other experienced members on the list include Kejal Lindgren, Anne McLane and Scott Tingle, all space station residents.
“We’re dreamers, but more, we do,” McClane said.
She wants children from all backgrounds to take note of Moon’s diversity team: “The doors are open, follow us.”
Among those still rocketing into space are: Banana Baron, King Cherry, Matthew Dominic, Woody Hobberg, Johnny Kim, Nicole Mann, Jasmine Mogebeli, Frank Rubio and Jessica Watkins.