In 1969 the first man, Neil Armstrong, set foot on the moon to take “one giant leap for mankind.” 50 years later, NASA  is working towards another moon landing where a female will take the same giant leap. This is the largest advancement for women in space since Sally Ride became the first American female astronaut in What will it take to get there and change the word “mankind” to “humankind?” We’ve got the details.

About The Mission

The mission to put Americans back on the moon is no small undertaking. Scheduled to take place in 2024, it is named Artemis after the Greek goddess of the moon and sister of Apollo whose name graces some of the most historic missions of the earliest years of the space program. Budget allocations for Artemis are scheduled to begin in 2020 and will include astronaut crew selection and training as well as purchases for a spacecraft, rockets, and a lunar lander. This last piece, the lander, may actually be constructed by one of the private companies that have been building, launching and testing space crafts with great success in the past several years.

Costs Of The Mission

Any kind of undertaking of this magnitude won’t be cheap. The amount for the mission has been announced at $1.6 billion but that’s just to start, with the first billion dollars of that budget is likely to be allocated just to the costs of the lunar lander. These costs haven’t been set aside easily or approved by Congress, yet. Other areas of funding and other NASA projects, such as funding for the Lunar Gateway program that would stage a spacecraft for landing on Mars, may need to have their budgets cut. Where these cuts fall will impact how likely Congress is to approve the budget. In addition, NASA administrators are clear that this currently proposed allocation won’t be adequate to fund the entire Artemis effort. It is a strong start, but more money will likely be needed.

Female Space Experience Matters

Allowing women to gain as much experience as possible at NASA and in settings beyond the Earth’s atmosphere matters. That’s because the ability for women to play their part in future space travel is crucial to the overall success of exploration beyond our planet. As experts have researched what it will take to send and maintain a crew into space or to colonize Mars, it has become clear that a team including both men and women will increase a mission’s success. That’s because of the fact that on long term space flights both the capabilities of each astronaut and how their personalities meld with each other becomes important.

What are the details on this finding? Experts believe that just as with earlier expeditions to new continents on earth and current expeditions on the North Pole, strong mental health is just as important for astronauts as physical strength and intelligence. Successful deep space mission astronauts will almost certainly need the ability to manage stress, compromise with others, and show resilience during setbacks. As NASA considers the mental and emotional health needs of space crews, they are looking at the possibilities that a mix of genders would lead to the best result in stemming conflicts that could undermine missions.

An Important Milestone For Women

As it turns out, having a woman take a female human’s first steps on the moon is an important milestone for not only women but for NASA and for the future of space exploration. Hopefully, budget and logistics issues will be able to be worked through and the Artemis mission can serve its purpose as it was meant to.