NASA’s Artemis program has a list of firsts that it plans to accomplish, including putting the first woman on the moon in 2024. NASA has now confirmed that the Artemis program will send the first person of color to the moon. The announcement came from acting NASA administrator Steve Jurczyk revealing the mission objective in a news release published Friday.
The announcement that the first person color would be sent to the moon came on the heels of President Biden announcing a budget proposal to give NASA $24.7 billion. Jurczyk says that the space agency knows the funding increase comes when resources are constrained, noting that NASA owes it to the president and the American people to be responsible stewards of tax dollars invested.
The administrator also noted that the funding keeps NASA on the path to landing the first woman and the first person of color on the moon under the Artemis program. He also noted the goal aligns with Biden’s commitment to comprehensive equity for all. In all of human history, only 12 people have ever walked on the moon. All of those people have been American astronauts.
The last time any human stepped foot on the moon was in 1972 with Apollo 17. The Artemis program to send humans to the moon again was first announced under President Trump in 2019. At the time, NASA pledged to land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface within five years. Budgetary concerns have cast some doubt on if that timeframe can be met.
After successful moon missions, NASA hopes to turn its attention to Mars, sending the first humans to the Red Planet. So far, all exploration of Mars has been accomplished using rovers and satellites in orbit.