That's according to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, who told Ira Flatow, the host of the radio show "Science Friday," that the "first person on Mars is likely to be a woman." Because there was so little time left in the show, Bridenstine did not elaborate on that comment or explain any decisions NASA may have already made about potential astronauts for a planned Mars mission.
“NASA is committed to making sure that we have a broad and diverse set of talent,” he said.
Bridenstine, who was appointed by President Donald Trump to head up the space agency, also said during the show Friday that the next astronaut to return to the moon since NASA's last manned lunar landing in 1972, will "likely be a woman."
“These are great days,” he said. “We have the first all-female spacewalk happening this month at the end of March, which is of course, National Women’s Month.”
The space agency announced last week that astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain, along with Jackie Kagey as the spacewalk flight controller, will make history March 29 when they become the first two women to conduct a spacewalk at the International Space Station, if all goes as planned.
The Huffington Post reported that the first six women joined NASA's Astronaut Corps in 1978, and today, 34 percent of the space agency's active astronauts are women.