Acting NASA administrator Steve Jurczyk said Friday that under President Biden’s budget request, the agency’s Artemis mission has a new goal: in addition to landing the first woman on the Moon, it will also send the first person of color to the lunar surface. So far, the only Earthlings to touch the Moon’s surface have been white men.
“The president’s discretionary request increases NASA’s ability to better understand Earth and further monitor and predict the impacts of climate change,” Jurczyk said in a statement. “It also gives us the necessary resources to continue advancing America’s bipartisan Moon to Mars space exploration plan, including landing the first woman and first person of color on the Moon under the Artemis program.”
Biden’s 2022 budget request includes $24.7 billion for NASA.
NASA previously announced that its Artemis mission, named for the Greek Moon goddess and twin sister of the god Apollo, would put a woman on the Moon’s surface by 2024. Last November, the agency introduced the 18 astronauts who will staff the Artemis mission. The group includes several people of color and nine women. It’s not yet known who the first woman or person of color on the Moon will be.
The Space Launch System — the giant rocket the space agency plans to use to send people to the Moon — has its first uncrewed flight scheduled for later this year.