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NASA considering all-female crew for Artemis moon mission

NASA may end up putting the first two women on the moon in 2024.

Artemis astronauts will be sporting new spacesuits. Engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston tested out these Modified Advanced Crew Escape spacesuits in 2017.
James Blair/NASA/JSC

NASA has been saying it wants to put the first woman and the next man on the moon for its Artemis 2024 mission. But that might change to become the first two women on the moon.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine addressed engineering students at the University of Colorado Boulder on Friday. The school livestreamed the session on social media. A student asked near the end of the Q&A if NASA had considered sending an all-female crew for the Artemis mission. 

"Have we considered it? Yes, and it wouldn't surprise me if that's what we did," Bridenstine answered. He said the crew hasn't yet been picked and emphasized that he'd been told that the next man and the first woman on the moon will happen within five years and that they'll be Americans.

"We could have a crew of two women going to the moon within five years," Bridenstine said. 

Artemis has a challenging road ahead and is contending with a tight schedule and delays with NASA's Space Launch System, the rocket system that will launch the Orion crew capsule and the moon-bound astronauts on their journey.

So far, only men have visited the moon. Artemis may give two women astronauts their first steps toward closing that space gender gap.