NASA is gushing towards clinching the title of ‘first woman on moon.’ A few more years will seal the deal. After Chandrayaan 2 lost communication, can ISRO take the title home?
USA is racing 12 times faster to the moon with its current NASA female astronauts. It will not be long that after the ‘first man on moon,’ NASA clenches the title of ‘first woman on moon’ too. While many space agencies must be planning out similar missions, NASA is already making news about it.
Where is India in the picture?
India has been budding into the universe since the last few decades. In fact, ISRO turned the world’s eyes towards Satish Dhawan Space Centre when it launched history to Mars in the form on Mangalyaan.
With low budget and high success rate, ISRO spiked expectations. But sadly, these expectations took a dip last night as Chandrayaan 2 lost communication. (Understand why, here) It was an ‘unmanned’ mission that lost the race in the last moments. So, the question arises:
After Chandrayaan 2 lost communication; can India participate in the race for first woman on moon?
Are we capable of a manned mission before NASA’s moon mission attempt in 2024?
Making Moon Inclusive
“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” this quote by the first man on moon has not become gender inclusive in the 50 years since its origin. 12 men have walked on the moon till date. But sadly, no women have. As the women are making it to the picture in every other field, it’s high time to capture the moon too.
It’s time for women to leave the planet and do a moonwalk!
While we know that NASA is gearing up for a manned moon mission (Artemis) with the highlight of first woman on moon, it is unclear who it will be. But the Space Agency has definitely dropped some hints on the basis of which one can shortlist the eligible candidates. These are the hints:
“She is already in the astronaut corps. It will be somebody who has been proven, somebody who has flown, somebody who has been on the International Space Station already. We’re looking for, of course, the most qualified candidates, and we have some amazingly talented and highly-qualified candidates.”
Current NASA Female Astronauts
Out of the 38 active astronauts at NASA’s astronaut corps, 12 are women. Let’s explore the eligible candidates; one of which could be the first woman on moon!
Tracy Caldwell Dyson
Another among current NASA female astronauts is Tracy Caldwell Dyson. She has flown twice to ISS. While her first mission clocked only 12 days in space, her second one was longer with 176 days. Moreover, Tracy has a Ph.D. in Chemistry.
Before joining NASA, Epps worked for Ford Motor Company. Later, she joined CIA and worked there for seven years as a technical intelligence officer. But Jeanette Epps has not yet launched off to space. While she did shortlist for a 2018 expedition, she was replaced by Serena Auñón-Chancellor for unknown reasons.
Auñón-Chancellor is a board-certified in interna; and aerospace medicine. The US Space agency assigns a flight surgeon whenever there is a crewed mission. This person serves as a ground-based medical consultant for astronauts. Auñón-Chancellor flew to space in 2018 wherein she clocked 197 days in space.
Koch is an engineer who recently arrived at the ISS in March. And she is one of the current NASA female astronauts who are not available on Earth. (She will be back in February 2020). Fun Fact: If every thing goes as per schedule, she will break Peggy Whitson’s record and take the title of ‘longest single spaceflight of a woman’ (Peggy is at 288)
Another engineer, Mann is currently training for the first crewed test flight of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. This is specially being built for NASA’s commercial crew program. But Mann has not yet flown to the ISS.
Anne McClain is many things: an engineer, Lieutenant Colonel in the army, and a senior Army Aviator who has tallied over 2,000 flight hours in 20 different aircrafts! She was very recently on the International Space Station. What’s more, she is the youngest among her astronaut corps peers.
Moreover, Anne has a unique title up her belt. Read here.
Meghan McArthur is Ph.D. holder in oceanography. In fact, she also has a degree in aerospace engineering from UCLA. But this one from the list of current NASA female astronauts, has not yet taken off to ISS
Jessica who is a daughter of two immigrants, holds degrees in biology, marine biology and space studies. Moreover, she is a private pilot! Meir has not yet been to the ISS. But she is scheduled for a trip to the International Space Station (ISS) this year.
Another among current NASA female astronauts is Rubins who clocked 115 days in space on ISS in 2016. She is a microbiologist and the first person to sequence DNA in space.
A physicist by training, Walker was picked to join the Astronaut Corps in 2004. Subsequently, she logged 163 days in space in 2010. In fact, she served as the flight engineer during the mission.
Wilson made it to the astronaut corps in 1996. And among the current NASA female astronauts, she has completed most trips to space. She has three space missions under her belt (in 2006, 2007 and 2010)
Wilson has a Bachelor’s Degree (engineering science) from Harvard. Moreover, she has master’s in aerospace engineering (University of Texas).
This one in among the current NASA female astronauts was selected as an astronaut in 1998. Since then, she has launched off to space twice. (2006 and 2012).
In fact, currently she is training to be an astronaut on Boeing’s Starliner. With this, she is slated to get on-board her third long-duration space mission on International Space Station. All told, Williams has spent a total of 322 days in space with more than 50 hours of spacewalk time.
When are you taking off?
As we reach to the end of the list, we find that these women are normal people who have toiled their way to space. So, if you have the patience to work hard, you too could book a place on such future lists.
Who do you think would be the first woman in space among current NASA female astronauts? Do you think ISRO could overtake NASA after Chandrayaan 2 lost communication? In any case, it is a win-win for humanity.