NASA to open untouched moon samples for 1st time since Apollo missions

Orion and European Service Modlule

"President Trump's fiscal year 2020 NASA budget is one of the strongest on record for our storied agency", NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine says in an official statement.

In an interview with Science Friday, Bridenstine discusses the high probability of female astronauts playing a big role in upcoming missions to the Moon and, in the future, Mars.

"For the first time in over 10 years, we have money in this budget for a return to the moon with humans", Bridenstine said in a presentation at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Anne McClain, a NASA astronaut and Expedition 58 crew member on the ISS, echoed this by saying that Crew Dragon marks the opening of the next chapter in space exploration.

The administrator said that "NASA is committed to making sure that we have a broad and diverse set of talent", and added: "We're looking forward to the first woman on the moon". "It's also true that the first person on Mars is likely to be a woman".

After almost 50 years of careful storage and being left untouched, NASA says it will finally study lunar samples that were collected during the legendary Apollo missions.

Lead flight director Mary Lawrence will oversee the station crew from Mission Control and Jackie Kagey will serve as lead spacewalk officer. According to the agency, women now make up 34 percent of NASA's active astronauts.

The first six women joined NASA's Astronaut Corps in 1978, making up almost 10 per cent of the active astronaut corps. We feel lucky that it [the all-female spacewalk] just sort of happened to be in Women's History Month'.

That's where the Space Launch System, or SLS, comes in.

A new $21 billion 2020 budget marks almost a six per cent increase from last year's.

NASA is pushing for a sustainable moon program this time around, as opposed to the come-and-go Apollo lunar landings a half-century ago.

"Our results aid in understanding the lunar water cycle and will ultimately help us learn about accessibility of water that can be used by humans in future missions to the Moon", said Dr. Amanda Hendrix, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute.

NASA offered a rough timeline of when it expects to actually see the two spacecraft head skyward, with an unmanned test flight tentatively scheduled for 2020 and a manned mission around the Moon slated to take place by 2023.

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