NASA has announced that it will be sending humans to the moon again for the first time in almost five decades, reports CNN. Since moon landings began in 1969, only 12 humans have ever stepped foot on the lunar surface–and all of those people have been men.
But that will change in 2024 when NASA sends the first woman to the lunar surface. Just five years from now, NASA will send one woman and one man back to the moon, landing on the lunar body’s south pole. The ambitious mission’s name will be Artemis, the Greek goddess of the moon and twin sister of Apollo. Announcing project Artemis, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said: “Fifty years after Apollo, the Artemis program will carry the next man and first woman to the moon.”
The project will be possible thanks to a $1.6 billion boost Trump announced to NASA’s budget on Monday. In a tweet, Trump said he was updating his 2020 budget proposal “so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!”
Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars. I am updating my budget to include an additional $1.6 billion so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2019
In a press release, NASA said, “To land American astronauts on the Moon by 2024, we are working through the acquisition approach for the various projects. Our efforts will include new work at NASA centers to provide the key technologies and scientific payloads needed for the lunar surface, adding to efforts already underway across the country.”
Right now it’s unknown who the first woman to ever walk on the moon’s surface will be. But given how small the astronaut field is, a clear frontrunner should become evident in the next few years.
Watch the video I sent to the workforce: pic.twitter.com/7kG8h4msdC
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) May 13, 2019