The head of NASA just revealed that the first person to ever set foot on Mars will “likely” be a woman.
“The first person on Mars is likely to be a woman,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a recent interview on radio talk show “Science Friday.”
Bridenstine, who was appointed by President Donald Trump last year, added earlier that the next American astronaut to return to the moon since the last manned landing in 1972 will also be a woman. If all goes as planned, that female astronaut will be the first woman on the moon.
“These are great days,” Bridenstine said. “We have the first all-female spacewalk happening this month at the end of March, which is of course, National Women’s Month.”
“So NASA is committed to making sure that we have a broad and diverse set of talent,” he added.
NASA announced last week that it plans to conduct its first all-female spacewalk later in March during Women’s History Month. Expedition 59 is scheduled for March 29 and will include astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch, as well as Jackie Kagey as the lead EVA, or spacewalk, flight controller. The spacewalk will last around seven hours, according to NASA’s website.
The first six women joined NASA’s Astronaut Corps back in 1978. Today, women compromise 34 percent of NASA’s active astronauts, according to the agency.
Listen to the full conversation between Bridenstine and “Science Friday” below.