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NASA announces Artemis team of astronauts as it aims for the moon

The first woman and next man on the moon may be among these astronauts.

NASA's Christina Koch and Jessica Meir went on a spacewalk together in October 2019 and they're both on the Artemis team.

The future may be uncertain, but NASA is still moving full steam ahead on landing astronauts on the moon in 2024 with its Artemis program. On Wednesday, the space agency introduced its Artemis team of astronauts. The first woman and next man on the moon could come from this group. 

"Together, we will define this incredible Artemis Generation of science and lunar exploration that doesn't stop at the Moon, rather, prepares humanity for our next giant leap, Mars," said NASA

NASA named 18 astronauts to its initial team. There are some well-known names on the list, including Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, who made history with the first all-female spacewalk in 2019 during their stay on the International Space Station. 

In a hype video from NASA, all the astronauts introduced themselves to a soaring soundtrack.

The astronaut team is evenly split between nine women and nine men. The group as a whole represents a considerable amount of space experience. Astronauts Victor Glover and Kate Rubins are currently on the ISS, and Glover got there via a SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle.

Vice President Mike Pence introduced some of the Artemis team at a National Space Council meeting on Wednesday, calling them "the heroes of the future who'll carry us back to the moon and beyond."

NASA is still planning to return humans to the moon in 2024, though budget issues and development delays could push that date back. As for which lucky astronauts will get a chance to strap on some moon boots and go for a lunar stroll, we likely won't know for quite some time.