NASA Boss Says First Person on Mars Will 'Likely Be a Woman'

NASA spotted hopping liquid water on Moon’s surface

NASA spotted hopping liquid water on Moon’s surface

In an interview with Science Friday, a science and technology radio show, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said that if thing go as planned, the next American astronaut to return to the moon will also be a woman - who would then be the first woman on the moon. So NASA is committed to making sure that we have a broad and diverse set of talent.

In an online statement, NASA mentioned in particular the sample taken from beneath the lunar regolith during Apollo mission 17, which could help scientists "study the rock layers exactly as they existed on the Moon".

The SLS is created to be the most powerful rocket built since the Saturn V rocket that sent astronauts to the moon a half-century ago.

However, the water observed by the LAMP instrument does not decrease when the Moon is shielded by the Earth and the region influenced by its magnetic field, suggesting water builds up over time, rather than "raining" down directly from the solar wind.

"I want to be clear, we do not have right now an ability to dock the Orion crew capsule with anything in orbit". They will also explore topics such as space weathering, the geologic history of the Apollo 17 site, and past volcanic activity on the Moon. Orion would have to dock with the upper stage in orbit around Earth, before heading to the moon.

That scenario isn't a slam-dunk.

John Keller, LRO deputy project scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland said, "This result is an important step in advancing the water story on the Moon and is a result of years of accumulated data from the LRO mission". That outfitting would have to be completed between now and next year, Bridenstine noted. "We as an agency need to consider all options to accomplish that objective".

Bridenstine said the decision on whether to proceed with the shift could be made in the next couple of weeks.

Bridenstine said NASA found out last week that SLS faces another delay from the original plan to launch for the first time in 2020 on a flight called Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1). The Gateway is fully funded in the 2020 budget proposal, Bridenstine said. The spending plan also opens the door for using commercial rockets to deliver the first elements of the worldwide Gateway space platform to lunar orbit.

He did not say which private company he had in mind, but SpaceX would be a natural candidate with its Falcon Heavy rocket.