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NASA astronaut Jessica Meir talks historic spacewalks, spacesuit struggles

Meir talks to CNET about joining the Artemis team and making it through a 2020 that was even crazier than yours.

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir (left) and Christina Koch prepare on the International Space Station for the first all-female spacewalk. 

NASA is aiming to send the first woman to the surface of the moon as soon as 2024, and astronaut Jessica Meir is one of just nine female astronauts eligible to take that historic trip.

I spoke to Meir via Zoom shortly after NASA named her and 17 other astronauts to its Artemis team, whose goal is to return to the moon to establish a permanent presence.

The Maine native has already made history in a spacesuit. In 2019, Meir made her first trip to the International Space Station, where she also took part in the first all-female spacewalk. In fact, she did three of them with fellow astronaut Christina Koch during her seven-month stay.

Surprisingly, Meir told me dealing with NASA's old-school bulky spacesuit has been one of the biggest challenges of her career as an astronaut.

Watch the entire conversation below for the details and how weird it was for Meir to come home from orbit to a planet in pandemic lockdown.

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