NASA has unveiled its latest spacecraft, a capsule aimed to transport the first woman to the moon. Vice President Mike Pence was there during the celebration at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Artemis 1 will launch NASA’s Orion spacecraft around the moon to test the system, and lead the way for landing a woman on the moon in the future. The goal is to have this done in the next five years, and it will also pave the road for future missions to Mars.

All this happening on the 50th anniversary of the agency’s Apollo 11 moon landing. That mission saw Neal Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon, making them the first in history. Fifty years ago, NASA’s goal was to prove that they could land humans on the moon and return them safely to earth. The goal now is to return to the moon in a sustainable way and also to send astronauts to Mars for the first time ever.

The name of this lunar program shows NASA’s high commitment to send a woman to the moon. Artemis, in Greek mythology, is the goddess of the moon and the twin sister of the sun god Apollo.

While NASA hasn’t said who will be the first woman to walk on the moon, there are at least a dozen possibilities. Twelve women are currently active in NASA’s astronaut corps, and one of them is from Texas. Shannon Walker who specializes in space physics is originally from Houston. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics from Rice University in 1987. She has spent over 160 days in space and commanded the NEEMO 15 underwater exploration mission and helped design and construct robotic hardware for the International Space Station.

NASA is continuing to work towards the launch of Artemis 1, which is set for June of 2020.


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